Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump blasted Pope Francis as “disgraceful” after he said that Trump was not a Christian because he wanted to build a wall on the Mexican border.
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President,” Trump said in a statement.
After the end of a six-day tour of Mexico, Pope Francis told reporters who asked him about Trump that anyone who “thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” the New York Times reports.
Trump attributes the Pope’s remarks to him being hoodwinked by the Mexican government during his tour of the country.
“The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them,” Trump said. “The Pope only heard one side of the story – he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States.”
Trump isn’t the only GOP candidate to support building a wall. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who’s polling in second place in the GOP primary, also supports building a wall on the Mexican border.
On social media, Trump’s supporters are quick to point out that Vatican city is enclosed by thick walls, suggesting that the Pope was a hypocrite for criticizing Trump.
“People who build walls are not Christians.” Image: wall built by Pope Innocent VI around papal capital at Avignon pic.twitter.com/aajf42lZFS
— David Frum (@davidfrum) February 18, 2016
The polls for the GOP primary in South Carolina, where Trump is leading by double-digits, opens on Feb. 20th.