ROME — Pope Francis has compared U.S. President Donald Trump to the murderous King Herod who massacred innocent children in ancient Palestine while trying to kill the baby Jesus, a Jesuit journal revealed Thursday.
Speaking with his brother Jesuits during his recent visit to Thailand, the Argentinian pope minced no words in his thinly veiled condemnation of the U.S. president and his administration, suggesting that like a modern-day Herod, Mr. Trump separates families at the border while allowing drugs to freely flow into the country.
“In other parts there are walls that even separate children from parents. Herod comes to mind,” Francis said. “Yet for drugs, there’s no wall to keep them out.”
“The phenomenon of migration is compounded by war, hunger and a ‘defensive mindset,’ which makes us in a state of fear believe that you can defend yourself only by strengthening borders. At the same time, there is exploitation.”
In this Q&A session, the pontiff also proposed that the rise of populism is at the root of migrants’ problems in Europe.
“I must admit that I am shocked by some of the narratives I hear in Europe about borders,” the pope said. “Populism is gaining strength.”
“The phenomenon of refugees has always existed, but today it is better known because of social differences, hunger, political tensions and especially war. For these reasons, migratory movements are intensifying,” he said.
“What is the answer the world gives? The policy of waste,” he continued. “Refugees are waste material. The Mediterranean has been turned into a cemetery. The notorious cruelty of some detention centers in Libya touches my heart.”
“The Christian tradition has a rich evangelical experience in dealing with the problem of refugees. We also remember the importance of welcoming the foreigner as the Old Testament teaches us,” he said.