ROME (CNS) — The day before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Pope Francis said he would make no judgments about the candidate and was interested only in the impact his policies would have on the poor.

Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, an Italian daily, said he met with Pope Francis Nov. 7 and asked him what he thought of Trump.

“I don’t give judgments about persons and politicians; I only want to understand what sufferings their way of proceeding will cause the poor and excluded,” the pope said, according to Scalfari.


The journalist has explained on more than one occasion that he does not take notes or record his conversations with the pope; he re-creates them afterward from memory, including the material he puts in quotation marks.

Scalfari, in an article published Nov. 11, said Pope Francis said his greatest concern today is for refugees and immigrants.

“Only a small portion of them are Christian, but that does not change the situation in terms of their suffering and neediness,” the pope said. “The causes are many,” and Christians must do what they can to solve the underlying problems forcing so many to flee.

Unfortunately, Pope Francis said, too many times the measures adopted in the face of migration are those taken by “populations that fear seeing their jobs taken away and their salaries reduced.”

“There are poor people in wealthy countries who are afraid of welcoming those like them from poor countries,” the pope said. “It’s a perverse cycle that must be interrupted. We must tear down the walls that divide, try to increase well-being and make it more widespread. But to do that, we must tear down walls and build bridges that diminish inequalities and increase freedom and rights.”