It's common for some to criticize Pope Francis' wariness about capitalism, but Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just took that to a new level, saying he would try to "scare" the pope by telling him: "ISIS wants to get you."
The comment came when CNN's Chris Cuomo presented Trump with a hypothetical situation during an interview Wednesday. What if, Cuomo said, Trump met the pope, and — through a translator — the pope expressed a belief that capitalism can be "a real avenue to greed, it can be really toxic and corrupt." How would Trump respond, Cuomo asked.
"I'd say ISIS wants to get you," Trump said. "You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that's a dream of theirs, to go into Italy."
"He talks to you about capitalism, you scare the pope?" Cuomo asked.
"I'm gonna have to scare the pope because it's the only thing," Trump said. "The pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is — you know, if you look at what's going on — they 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."
Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit the United States in September, has at times provoked economic conservatives during his two-year papacy. He has called trickle-down economics an "opinion, which has never been confirmed," and this spring is publishing a major document blaming over-consumption and unrestrained capitalism for everything from family pain to global warming.
"I have great respect for the pope," Trump said in Wednesday's interview. "I like the pope. I actually like him. He's becoming very political, there's no question about it. But I like him. He seems like a pretty good guy."
The Vatican's chief spokesman in January dismissed reports that terrorists might focus on the Vatican. In March, however, the head of the Vatican City police and security service said "the threat exists." He also noted that authorities didn't know of a specific plot to attack either Pope Francis or the Vatican, according to reports.