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Pool report #4a - 5/24/17
Carol Lee • Wall Street Journal
May 24, 2017: 10:19 AM

After the spray with the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, pool exited to the courtyard. A few minutes later, Pope Francis exited and got into his Ford Focus. He waved to the reporters gathered in the courtyard, and was driven away.

Pool is holding in vans.

Some color from the greeting of the US delegation and gift exchange:

When pool entered the room, it appeared POTUS had already introduced Ivanka Trump, who also wore a black lace dress and veil, and Jared Kushner. They were standing to the president's right. Other members of the delegation were still in the back of the room near pool.

The first person pool saw POTUS introduce to Pope Francis was Rex Tillerson. "This is my secretary of state," POTUS explained. H.R. McMaster was next. POTUS introduced him by name. When POTUS introduced Hope Hicks to the pope, your pooler believes he told him she has worked for him for a long time.

Then Dan Scavino, Brian Hook, Keith Schiller and others. Note that your pooler has asked for but has not received a list of members of the US delegation. Several people on the one provided by the Vatican were not there, including Dina Powell and Gary Cohn. Your pooler will update when she gets a list from the White House.

After they were introduced, they stood in a row on either side of the president and the pope. The pope was brought a tray of rosaries on a silver tray, which were then taken away. He handed out tokens, in white boxes, to each member of the delegation. He had an exchange with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner where they smiled and laughed but your pooler couldn't hear it.

The president and first lady, and the pope and his interpreter then walked to the table with the gifts. the delegation stayed behind, standing in front of their chairs. You have the info about the gift exchange. One note, POTUS was very effusive in expressing his gratitude. He said "thank you very much" multiple times as the pope talked him through his gift offerings.

When pool first entered the room, the mood appeared stiff. The pope was rather stone-faced. But during the gift exchange, the mood lightened considerably. POTUS's gift to the pope was in a large, square, navy blue box.

At 9:08am, the US delegation moved to the exit. The procession began with the last person leaving first. The pope, POTUS and Melania Trump walked to the door where POTUS and the pope had initially entered. They talked for a few moments. Your pooler couldn't hear much but has sent you what she heard. Mrs. Trump left. It was just POTUS and the pope. That's when POTUS told the pope that he won't forget what he said. Your pooler is venturing to find out what he was referring to and will pass along if successful.

Information on the gifts POTUS gave the pope, from the White House:

A first-edition set of Dr. King's writings are presented to Your Holiness on the occasion of President Donald J. Trump's first visit to the Holy See. Dr. King wrote five books in his lifetime, which highlight his powerful and timeless messages of love, understanding, and peace. The set includes: Stride Toward Freedom (1958), The Measure of a Man (1959), The Strength to Love (1963), Why We Can't Wait (1964), and Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967).

Each book is custom-bound and accented with gold hand-tooling, and The Strength to Love bears Dr. King's signature. This gift reflecting Dr. King's life and work is presented in a custom, hand-made display case.

The "Stone of Hope" statue sits as the centerpiece of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. A piece of the monument's granite --a stone of hope-- is presented along with the quote memorialized on the monument, which is hand-painted on the display. This gift honors Dr. King's hope, vision, and inspiration for generations to come. In addition to the books and the "stone of hope" the presentation display features a photo from Your Holiness' 2015 address to the Joint Session of the United States Congress.

Also presented to Your Holiness is a one-of-kind, hand-made bronze sculpture. Crafted by an American artist, "Rising Above" represents hope for a peaceful tomorrow, as it evokes two universal values: unity and resilience. The flowering lotus exemplifies the possibility for growth and triumph in the face of trying times.

"Here too I think of the march
which Martin Luther King led from
Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago
as part of the campaign to fulfill his
"dream" of full civil and political rights
for African Americans. That dream
continues to inspire us all. I am happy
that America continues to be, for many,
a land of "dreams". Dreams which lead
to action, to participation, to commitment.
Dreams which awaken what is deepest
and truest in the life of a people."

excerpt from Your Holiness' 2015 address to the Joint Session of the United States Congress

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