Speed Reads

'good to be back'

Biden praises Pope Francis as 'the most significant warrior for peace I've ever met'

President Biden during his European trip on Friday held a lengthy meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, praising him as a "warrior for peace." 

Biden wrapped up a meeting with the pope on Friday that the Vatican said lasted about 75 minutes. CNN Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher described this as a "very long time" for a one-on-one meeting between a president and the pope and "definitely one of the longest meetings" for Pope Francis. Indeed, CBS' Weijia Jiang noted former President Barack Obama's 2014 meeting with the pope lasted 50 minutes, while former President Donald Trump's lasted about a half-hour in 2017. 

The White House said Friday there was "laughter and clear rapport between" Biden and the pope during their "warm" conversation, which CNN's Kaitlan Collins also noted was almost twice the length of Biden's meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1980. Video released by the Vatican showed Biden telling the pope he's the "most significant warrior for peace I've ever met," gifting him a coin and telling him "my son would want me to give this to you." Biden also joked, "Next time I see you, if you don't have it, you have to buy the drinks." After seeing this footage, Gallagher said on CNN, "Now I understand why the meeting took so long. They were probably sharing jokes back and forth and sharing stories."

Ahead of the meeting, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden and the pope planned to discuss issues including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, and climate change, noting they have a "great deal of agreement" on these issues. Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president after John F. Kennedy. As Biden arrived at the Vatican, he said, "It's good to be back."