Photo: AFP/Pool via Getty Images

Earlier today the world moved one step further into the strange shadow universe it has somehow collided with as President Donald Trump paid a visit to the pope in the Vatican. It went about as well as something like this could, but was still fraught with tension; as The New York Times delicately put it, “the two leaders… symbolize starkly different views of the world.” One has devoted his life to humility, modesty, and helping the disadvantaged; the other is a career huckster whose capacity for shame was seemingly surgically replaced at a young age with a desire to fuck a pile of gold. The two men have regularly criticized each other: The pope stated that Trump’s plan to erect a border wall would not be in keeping with the teachings of Christianity, while Trump did not like it when the pope paid for his own hotel bill one time, presumably because true leadership is best expressed by lighting a stack of paper money on fire and cooking a steak well-done in it.

So, things were fraught! Trump, joined by his unenthusiastic wife and the Kushner contingent, brought the pope a gift of the works of Martin Luther King Jr. The pope reciprocated by giving Trump a self-penned 38,000-word essay on the importance of cutting fossil-fuel emissions so as to avert the imminent collapse of global order, as well as all life on Earth. Here’s hoping Trump makes time to read it! The Times report noted a disparity in demeanor between the two men, the president smiling “broadly” as Pope Francis “looked more serious.” The photos tell the story well, featuring the sort of grinning incongruity that has become a hallmark of the Trump administration’s brief, unreal reign, about which we must laugh to hide the tears:

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Ha-ha, what the fuck is going on in the world?

[via New York magazine]

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