The poll numbers for Pope Francis are higher than for any American politician, and today he showed why.
Arriving in Washington, DC, he turned down lunch invitations from members of Congress and instead opted to dine with 300 members of the homeless community after he delivered his address at the Capitol.
The pontiff was greeted by thousands of the faithful at the White House on Wednesday and wasted no time getting to the issues he intends to highlight as he speaks to the joint session of Congress, including immigration reform and income inequality.
But not all members want to speak with His Holiness.
House Republican Paul Gosar (R–AZ) already released a statement explaining that he will boycott Pope Francis because he expects him to include global warming as part of his speech. Gosar explained his decision in an op-ed via TownHall.com:
“If the pope wants to devote his life to fighting climate change, then he can do so in his personal time. But to promote questionable science as Catholic dogma is ridiculous. When the pope chooses to act like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.”
Gosar is not alone in barely managing to hide his contempt for the leader of the Catholic Church and his less-than-enthusiastic message about runaway capitalism in America . Jeb Bush stated that his interest in hearing what the Pope had to say would be limited to matters of faith, saying:
“I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals.”
Republican front-runner Donald Trump was asked what he would say if he met Pope Francis and replied:
“Look, the pope, I hope, can only be scared by God… but the truth is, you know, if you look at what’s going on, he’d better hope that capitalism works because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”
Because he is the spiritual leader of an estimated 70 million U.S. Catholics, many of the presidential candidates have been looking forward to Pope Francis’ arrival as an attempt to curry his favor for their stance on religious liberty and abortion bans. But it looks like he will stay above the fray and spend his time spreading the word of God to his congregants instead of posing for pictures with members of the GOP.