Joe Biden Keeps American Media out of Secret Greeting with Pope Francis

US President Joe Biden walks past a Swiss Guard as he arrives at San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on October 29, 2021 for a private audience with the Pope, ahead of an upcoming G20 summit of world leaders to discuss climate change, covid-19 and the post-pandemic global recovery. (Photo …

President Joe Biden met secretly with Pope Francis on Friday in Rome, breaking tradition by keeping reporters out of the room when he arrived.

The president and First Lady Jill Biden arrived at about noon and was greeted by Head of the Papal Household Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, but reporters were prevented from watching them meet the pope.

Police officers stand by as the motorcade of U.S. President Joe Biden arrives across the Via della Conciliazione in Rome leading to the Vatican on October 29, 2021, for Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis. (VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)

Officially, it was the Vatican that set the press rules for the visit, but the White House did not push for press access traditionally granted to American presidents.

The president met with Pope Francis for about 90 minutes before a second expanded meeting began.

The Vatican planned to send edited footage of the meeting to reporters after the meeting.

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.

Physician to the President Dr. Kevin O’Connor also joined the president for his meeting with Pope Francis.


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