- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 18, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Donald Trump said Thursday that he thinks Pope Francis was likely misinformed about his stance on building a border wall, and said the Mexican government probably egged the pontiff on to criticize the Republican front-runner.

“I think he was given false information,” Mr. Trump said in a town hall aired on CNN from South Carolina.

Earlier in the day, after a trip to Mexico in which he visited the border, Pope Francis took aim at Mr. Trump.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the Gospel,” the pope said. He said he wasn’t trying to influence the election, but he repeated his charge that Mr. Trump is “not Christian.”

Mr. Trump immediately fired back, saying it was “disgraceful” to question someone else’s faith and that the pope would be sorry “if and when” the Islamic State attacks the Vatican.

By the evening, though, Mr. Trump said he had seen the pontiff’s full comments and it wasn’t as bad as he was led to believe. Still, he was disappointed.

“I didn’t think it was a good thing for him to say, frankly,” Mr. Trump said, though he called the pope “a wonderful guy” who has “a lot of energy.”

In blaming Mexico for prodding the pope into his criticism, Mr. Trump is continuing a series of attacks on the neighbor to the south of the U.S. Mr. Trump kicked off his campaign in June by blaming Mexican society for sending rapists and other bad elements to the U.S.

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