It could have caused a diplomatic incident but a culinary quip from Pope Francis seemed to have gone down well with Donald Trump and his wife Melania. In one of the lighter moments of his meeting with the US president at the Vatican , Francis made an apparent allusion to Trump’s imposing physical size.
“What do you feed him on? Potica?” Francis asked Melania, in a reference to a calorie-laden cake that comes from her native Slovenia and is pronounced “potteezza”. And so it fell to Trumps wife, Melania and her pontiff host, Pope Francis to engage in what initially appeared to be a linguistic muddle during the US President’s Vatican visit.
Greeting the First Couple, the Pope asked Ms Trump if she fed her husband a nut-filled Slovenian cake. “What are you feeding him, potica?” he asked.
The pontiff was referring to a traditional sweet bread, which can also be filled with chocolate or honey, and is baked in the form of a Swiss roll.
However, the Vatican initially suggested Pope Francis was not inquiring about potica, pronounced po-teet-sah, but about another bread-based food, pizza – a mistake repeated by some who watched the video.A translator repeated the question in English and Ms Trump, who grew up in th
e Sevnicia replied, “potica, yes”, before both parties laughed.The Vatican later clarified that he had in fact been asking about the cake, and there was no mention of whether the pontiff had been referring to the stature of Mr Trump, who at a reported 16-and-a-half-stone has previously acknowledged he “coul
d lose a little weight..The president met the pope for 30 minutes on Wednesday morning, during his first overseas trip since entering the White House.He was givena small sculptured olive tree and told through the interpreter that it symbolised peace.
“It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” the Pope said, speaking in Spanish.
Mr Trump responded: “We can use peace.”Pope Francis also gave Mr Trump a signed copy of his 2017 peace message whose title is “Nonviolence – A Style of Politics for Peace”, and a copy of his 2015 letter on the need to protect the environment from the effects of climate change.”Well, I’ll be reading them,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump gave the Pope a boxed set of five first-edition books by US civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
As Mr Trump and the Pope said goodbye at the door of the study, the President said: “Thank you, thank you. I won’t forget what you said.”