Donald Trump and the Pope seem completely different. And, yet, the two tied for second place in Gallup's most admired man poll. Could they be that different? Yes, one emblazons his name on every building he owns — the bigger, the better — and lives in an ornate gold-plated penthouse decorated in a Louis XIV style. And sure, the other likes to ride in a Fiat, has called on priests and cardinals to live a simpler life, and opted out of the luxurious papal apartments, instead moving into a relatively austere guest house at the Vatican.
On the surface, yep, there may be many differences, but maybe they're not that different. The Trump and the Pontiff seem to obsess about some of the same topics. Their followers don't necessarily rely on factual proof so much as faith in explaining their fandom. And you can't help but appreciate their adventurous headwear; Trump should try one of the papal skull caps — it's got to be easier than that perfectly groomed coif. So getting down to what really matters, what do and don't these heavily-reported-on public personas see eye-to-eye on? The two don't shy away from controversy — and if you don't believe me, check their Twitter feeds.
Jokes aside, the two do agree on one thing: Abortion is bad. Even though the Pope made it easier for women to be forgiven for past abortions this year, his views on the matter are clear. "It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day," he said in 2014 during his annual "State of the World" speech. Trump agrees, although he used to be pro-choice. He only changed his mind after getting involved in the 2012 election.
Here's one area where the two couldn't be more at odds. Trump has called undocumented Mexican immigrants "killers" and "rapists," threatened to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and accused Jeb Bush of being pro-immigration because his wife is Mexican. The Pope, on the other hand, has called on the U.S. not to "be afraid to welcome" immigrants.
The Pope has called on his followers to emulate the humility of Jesus and avoid "another way" of vanity, pride, and success. But "humble" is clearly not in Trump's vocabulary. "I'm the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far. Nobody's ever been more successful than me. I'm the most successful person ever to run," Trump said during an interview with The Des Moines Register.
The Wall Street Journal reported that one of Trump's big advantages in the 2016 race is his private plane fleet. His Boeing 757, Cessna, and three helicopters bring him to campaign events around the country, helping build his brand. The Pope can relate. He has been traveling the world on a chartered Alitalia plane. It may not be as fancy as Trump's, but he does have it all to himself.
Trump blatantly said on CNN's New Day that he didn't agree with the Pope on the matter. The Pope spoke during his visit to Washington on the South Lawn of the White House on climate change: "Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation." Trump confusingly countered: "You want to have clean air, clean water. That's very important to me, and I've won many environmental awards. I am not a believer in climate change," he said on the show.
Trump and the Pope also both oppose gay marriage, and their opposition is framed as pro-gay. "I live in New York. New York is a place with lots of gays and I think it's great, but I'm not in favor of gay marriage," Trump said on Meet the Press in August. The Pope also does his best not to come off as anti-gay, but he too is against marriage equality. While throwing out the occasional, "Who am I to judge?" the Pope has made it clear that he sees gay marriage as an "ideological colonization that tries to destroy the family."
Following ISIS-related attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, Trump announced he would ban Muslims from coming to the United States. Meanwhile, the Pope is all about interfaith cooperation and understanding. While in Africa he told Christian and Muslim leaders to engage in dialogue. Don't expect his levelheadedness to get through to Trump, though. When Trump was asked what he'd like to talk to the Pope about back in August, he said he would give the Pontiff a warning. "I'd say, 'ISIS wants to get you,'" Trump told CNN.
It's a shame — and not surprising — that Trump only agrees with Pope Francis when he's wrong. But, no, you probably don't want to write in a vote for the Pope instead of Trump in the Republican primaries. Instead just hope that Pope Francis is praying for the United States this election season.