Javier Milei, president of Argentina, is in the middle of a diplomatic trip that has taken him to Israel and Italy so far. After meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and crying at the Wailing Wall, it was time for one of the most anticipated meetings for the libertarian, Pope Francis. Despite sharing a homeland, previous statements suggested that their first confrontation could be uncomfortable. However, both merged into a hug, leaving an exciting image in Rome.
Milei participated in Sunday mass in St. Peter's Basilica, where the Supreme Pontiff canonized María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, better known as Mama Antula, now the first Argentine saint.
The long-awaited meeting between Milei and Pope Francis took place, which soon went viral on social media.
El Presidente Javier Milei participó de la canonización de María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, "Mama Antula", en la Basílica de San Pedro, en una ceremonia llevada a cabo por Su Santidad, el Papa Francisco, para convertirla en la primera santa argentina. pic.twitter.com/Uxx88vwzTT
— Oficina del Presidente (@OPRArgentina) February 11, 2024
"Pray for me, I pray for you"
The first meeting between Milei and the Pope was characterized by warmth, perhaps unexpected due to the strong statements that the president had made toward the supreme pontiff. He called him an "imbecile" and said that he was the "representative of the evil one on earth." However, when they met, it seemed as if those statements had never existed.
The communication between the two began with a joke from the head of the Catholic Church. "You cut your hair," he said with a knowing smile to the libertarian, who responded with a laugh that he had only trimmed it.
Immediately, the Argentine president asked him: "Can I give you a hug?" to which the Pope nodded, "Yes son, yes." Once the demonstration of affection was over, a few seconds of mutual gratitude began.
🇦🇷🇻🇦 | HISTÓRICO
El Papa Francisco y el Presidente Milei rompen el protocolo, y se funden en un abrazo en su primer encuentro en el Vaticano. pic.twitter.com/jjPIYRQnrL
— El Peluca Milei (@ElPelucaMilei) February 11, 2024
Then it was Karina Milei's turn, the president's sister and current general secretary of the presidency, who also asked him for permission to kiss him. "Thank you for supporting him [Milei]," said the Pope, who then prepared to greet the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, and Chancellor Diana Mondino.
With everyone facing him, the Pope said goodbye with his classic "pray for me, I pray for you" and closed with "see you tomorrow." The formal meeting between Milei and Francisco is scheduled for Monday, February 12, at the Apostolic Palace.
Since 2013, the Pope has met with the following Argentine presidents: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Mauricio Macri, Alberto Fernández and now Javier Milei. However, he has not yet visited his country of origin, although he clarified that he intends to do so sooner rather than later.