Transcript: Pope Francis on Donald Trump and immigration

AP News
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Posted: Feb 18, 2016 5:28 PM

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Here is the full question-and-answer aboard the papal plane between a reporter and Pope Francis about Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and deport 11 million people who are living in the country illegally.

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Q: Good evening, Your Holiness. Today you spoke eloquently about the problems of migrants. On the other side of the frontier there's a very tough electoral campaign going on. One of the Republican candidates for the White House, Donald Trump, in a recent interview, said you are a "political man" and that maybe you are a pawn of the Mexican government as far as immigration policy is concerned. He has said that if elected, he would build a 2,500-kilometer-long wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, thus separating families, etc. I would like to ask you, first off, what do you think of these accusations against you, and if an American Catholic can vote for someone like this.

A: Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as "animal politicus." So at least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don't know. I'll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.