President Trump on Wednesday said he had a “wonderful conversation” with Pope Francis, in which he offered U.S. help to renovate Notre Dame Cathedral after a blaze tore through the historic church this week.
“Just had a wonderful conversation with @Pontifex Francis offering condolences from the People of the United States for the horrible and destructive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral,” he tweeted. “I offered the help of our great experts on renovation and construction as I did in my conversation yesterday with President @EmmanuelMacron of France.”
“I also wished both Pope Francis and President Macron a very Happy Easter!” he said.
A White House readout of the call said that the two also discussed “alleviating the suffering of the Venezuelan people and leading the country to a democratic transition.”
Shortly after the Holy See’s press office issued its own account of the meeting: “The Holy Father received a telephone call this afternoon from the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who, regarding the devastation of Notre-Dame Cathedral, expressed to the Pope his closeness, in the name of the American people.”
Trump’s comments come days after a fire raged through the historic Catholic landmark in the center of Paris. While relics, including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, were saved and the main structure remained in tact, the blaze collapsed the cathedral’s spire and much of the roof.
Trump’s remarks were more reserved than on Monday when he encouraged France to use “flying water tankers” to put out the blaze as it was still burning through the cathedral.
Trump’s relationship with Pope Francis over the years has been marked by controversy, with both sides taking swipes at each other in the past, particularly on the subject of immigration and Trump’s call for a wall on the southern border.
Francis recently rekindled that feud when he said that leaders intent on building walls in their country will “end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build.”
“I realize that with this problem (of migration), a government has a hot potato in its hands, but it must be resolved differently, humanely, not with razor wire,” he said.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and Kristin Brown contributed to this report.