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Washington D.C., Apr 17, 2019 CNA.- President Donald Trump and Pope Francis spoke on the phone Wednesday afternoon, with the president pledging to assist with the rebuilding of Notre-Dame de Paris.
“Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with His Holiness Pope Francis. The President offered his condolences for the destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral, one of Europe’s most important religious structures,” said a readout of the call from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Trump also commented on the Cathedral’s “amazing beauty and great symbolism.”
The two leaders also spoke on matters related to the current crisis in Venezuela, and how to best assist the people of that country during the current political crisis.
Venezuela has suffered through political and social unrest for years, but the situation worsened in January with the disputed reelection of President Nicholas Maduro. A large and growing number of nations have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the result, and the Vatican has rebuffed invitation by the dictator to mediate in the dispute with his opponents.
Trump characterized the call with the pope as a “wonderful conversation” on Twitter, adding that he wished the pontiff a happy Easter.
Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See Press Office, confirmed the call on Twitter. He said that Trump “expressed to the pope his closeness, in the name of the American people.”
Since the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris was destroyed on Tuesday, over 700 million euro has been pledged to the rebuilding effort. Officials have proposed an architectural contest to design the cathedral’s new spire.
Trump previously spoke to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday, expressing condolences over the tragedy of the fire and offering American help.