Biden Demands Secret Meeting with Pope Kept Hidden from American Public
Reporters were prevented from watching meeting
Joe Biden met with Pope Francis in secret on Friday in Rome, which broke the tradition of allowing reporters to be in the room.
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived in Rome around noon and were greeted by Head of the Papal Household Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza.
But reporters were prevented from watching them meet the pope.
Though the Vatican set the press rules for the visit, the White House decided not to allow pres access traditionally granted to American presidents.
Biden met with Pope Francis for about 90 minutes before a second expanded meeting began.
The Vatican has planned to send edited footage of the meeting to reporters following the meeting.
It is deeply unfortunate that WH news photographers won't be permitted to capture pictures of Biden with the pope today. Here are @AP_Images of previous presidents being received at the Vatican. pic.twitter.com/kkU8CYQzXc— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) October 29, 2021
Biden was joined at the Vatican with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Charge d’Affairs Patrick Connell, Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, Senior Advisor to the President Michael Donilon, Director of Oval Office Operations AnnMarie Tomasini.
Advisor to the First Lady Anthony Bernal, Senior Director for Europe Dr. Amanda Sloat, and Acting Chief of Protocol of the United States Asel Roberts.
The meeting between Biden and Francis lasted roughly 90 minutes.— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) October 29, 2021
We're now waiting on the Vatican's TV production team to feed edited video from the only camera that taped Biden's meeting with the pope.
Regrettably, no independent American journalists were permitted inside.
Biden was also joined by his physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor.
"You are the most significant warrior for peace I've ever met," Biden said.
"And with your permission, I'd like to be able to give you a coin.
"It has the US seal on the front."
"What is different with this coin ... I know my son would want me to give it to you," Biden said to the Pope, referring to his late son Beau.
"On the back of it, I have the state of Delaware, the 261st Unit my son served with."
"The tradition is — and I'm only kidding about this — next time I see you [and] you don't have it, you have to buy the drinks," Biden said to the pope through a translator.