In a historic six-day trip, Pope Francis arrived for his first visit during which he focuses on consumerism, poverty and the marginalized risks appearing as a criticism of American society.
The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff’s chartered plane from Cuba, landed at Andrew Air Force Base in Maryland, where President Barack Obama and his wife and daughters paid him the rare honour of meeting him at the bottom of the stairs on the red-carpeted tarmac. US President Obama will host the Jesuit pope at the White House, on Wednesday.
“When the president sits down with Pope Francis tomorrow in the Oval Office, the president will not arrive at that meeting with a political agenda,” White House spokesperson Josh Earnest told reporters. “This is an opportunity for two men who have so many values in common to talk about the efforts that they are making in their respective and quite different roles to advance those shared values.”
Earnest, when asked why Obama has gone to “these lengths” to greet the pope, said “Pope Francis, we have seen, has really struck a chord in people not just across the United States but around the world. He serves as a source of inspiration not just for Catholics but of people of frankly all religions around the world.” Pope will make two key speeches during his visit, addressing Congress on Thursday and the United Nations on Friday.