Donald Trump responds to photo of Pope Francis and Joe Biden—”freaking out”

In World

Former President Donald Trump has claimed Pope Francis was “freaking out” when he met President Joe Biden on Friday.

Video showed Francis greeting Biden and other world leaders warmly on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Italy. The pope could be seen smiling as Biden bent down to speak to him, with their foreheads touching at one point.

But Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, took to social media to suggest that Francis was not comfortable with Biden getting so close to him.

“Look at the Pope—He’s freaking out! This can’t be normal, can it?” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, alongside of a photo of the two men with their foreheads close together.

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Pope Francis
U.S. President Joe Biden (right) greets Pope Francis on day two of the G7 summit on June 14, 2024, in Fasano, Italy. Donald Trump has claimed the pope was “freaking out” during the interaction.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Newsweek has contacted a Trump spokesperson and the White House for comment via email. The Vatican has also been contacted for comment via email.

A White House readout of Biden’s meeting with Francis said the president had “thanked Pope Francis for the Vatican’s work to address the humanitarian impacts of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, including his efforts to help return kidnapped Ukrainian children to their families.”

He “also reaffirmed his deep appreciation for the pope’s tireless advocacy for the poor and those suffering from persecution, the effects of climate change, and conflict around the world,” it said.

Biden has long had a friendly relationship with the pope, telling reporters after his last meeting with Francis in 2021 that they “talked about the fact he was happy I was a good Catholic.”

Trump’s comments come after he suggested Biden, who is 81, should have to take a cognitive test in a speech on Saturday night, moments before confusing the name of the doctor who administered the test to him during his presidency.

“He doesn’t even know what the word ‘inflation’ means. I think he should take a cognitive test like I did,” Trump said of Biden while speaking at the Turning Point Action convention in Detroit.

“Doc Ronny Johnson. Does everyone know Ronny Johnson, congressman from Texas? He was the White House doctor, and he said I was the healthiest president, he feels, in history, so I liked him very much indeed immediately.”

Trump was referring to Representative Ronny Jackson, who was the White House physician for part of Trump’s presidency and is now a Republican congressman and one of the former president’s most ardent supporters.

Trump, who turned 78 on Friday, has regularly questioned Biden’s mental acuity on the campaign trail—but his critics were quick to jump on his gaffe, and the Biden campaign posted it on X, formerly Twitter, minutes later.