Pope Francis shot down reports that he met with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The pope described his interaction with Sanders as a brief greeting and common courtesy.
“This morning as I was leaving, Senator Sanders was there,” Francis said. “He knew I was coming out at that time, and he had the kindness to greet me.”
“When I came down, he introduced himself, I greeted him with a handshake, and nothing more,” the pope added. “It’s common courtesy, this is called common courtesy.
“If someone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics,” he said, “I recommend that they find a psychiatrist.”
The pope’s description of the interaction greatly differs from the one reported by Politico, which should be noted was provided by a Sanders adviser. It is likely that there was no meeting between Sanders and Pope Francis. It is probably that a Sanders adviser was trying to put a happy face on a brief unplanned interaction between the two men.
Pope Francis makes it sound like Bernie Sanders made the trip over to greet him before he left, which is the opposite of what the Politico story claimed. The Politico story claimed that Francis invited Sanders to meet with him on Friday.
The Sanders campaign has had a bad week. They are trailing by double digits in the New York primary. Sanders did not deliver the primary changing moment that he needed at the Democratic debate in Brooklyn. One of the campaign’s surrogates came under fire for referring to Democratic corporate whores at a Sanders rally, and now, the Pope denies the Sanders campaign’s version of the meeting with the Democratic candidate.
It has been a bad week for the Sanders campaign that could not have come at a worse time. Whether or not Sanders met with the pope probably won’t matter to the results in New York, but this was pretty much last thing that the Sanders campaign needed right now.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association