Donald Trump and Pope Francis Have a Lot In Common, Says Former Trump Ally
Pope Francis and Donald Trump share a key personality rate that's fueled their rise.
At first glance, one might not think GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who revels in the trappings of wealth, would have much in common with Pope Francis, a pontiff known for his personal austerity and calls for significant income redistribution. But according to Michael D'Antonio, Trump’s unauthorized biographer, the pair do share a trait that’s key to their popularity: both men are who they say they are.
At first glance, one might not think GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who revels in the trappings of wealth, would have much in common with Pope Francis, a pontiff known for his personal austerity and calls for significant income redistribution. But according to Michael D’Antonio, Trump’s unauthorized biographer, the pair do share a trait that’s key to their popularity: both men are who they say they are.
Speaking on “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” on Fox News Tuesday, D’Antonio — who was authorized to write Trump’s biography, “Never Enough, Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success,” before he spoke to someone the real estate mogul didn’t like, and was then excommunicated — said the two’s authenticity was what attracted people to them. Here’s a transcript of the exchange:
GRETCHEN CARLSON (HOST): You say that the public understands [Trump] better than the analysts, could be one of the most important things in this book. Why?
MICHAEL D’ANTONIO: People feel him. You know, they get this sense that this guy is coming from the heart. Now, we’re all clumsy. We all say things that we wish we didn’t say. We misspeak. We use excessive language. Now Donald’s a little out there and he never apologizes. I don’t know anyone else who never apologizes but people kind of get him. They know that he’s trying to connect. And they respond to the authenticity. You know who else is really authentic?
D’ANTONIO: The Pope. Here’s two completely authentic guys. They represent vastly different points of view, but people love them both. And even people across the political spectrum love them both. It’s fascinating.
D’Antonio has a point. Trump has tapped into a populist sentiment among the American electorate, and is an outsider who now finds himself at the center of the political universe. For his part, Pope Francis, who has left behind the traditional, ornate trappings of the Vatican for a simpler life, is challenging the church’s traditional mainstream orthodoxy with relatively progressive moves to, for instance, make it easier for Catholics to divorce. This has won him support among Catholics and the public in general.
Francis arrived in the United States for a four-day visit Tuesday. And Trump appears to get the parallel; he has praised the pope for bringing a “fresh” personality to Catholicism. If the two were to meet, Trump said, “I would talk to him about a lot of things — mostly religion.” The pope, for his part, might have wanted to ask Trump about his comments that communion wafers were crackers.
Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
David Francis was a staff writer at Foreign Policy from 2014-2017.
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