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The Pope vs. Trump: Social media piles on

Pope Francis salutes faithful during his meeting with workers and advocacy groups in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Wednesday.
Pope Francis salutes faithful during his meeting with workers and advocacy groups in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Wednesday. Associated Press

On Thursday Pope Francis said Donald Trump “is not Christian” if he plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Then social media quickly pointed out that the pontiff himself lives behind some very tall walls.

So that’s why the pope became a trending topic on Twitter and your timeline was flooded with pictures of Vatican City.

After the pontiff’s trip to Mexico, reporters traveling with him on the papal plane asked about Trump’s proposed construction project. During his trip the pontiff laid a wreath and offered a prayer for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,” he said according to the reporters.

He stressed that he was not advising Americans how to vote. “I am not going to get involved in that,” the pope said. “I would only say that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

Trump, who had criticized the pope’s visit to Mexico by calling him a “very political person,” punched back with a statement saying that “for a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”

Game on.

The Huffington Post recalled this Trump tweet from just a few days ago:

And then people sat back to watch the fallout.

Trump's social media director, Dan Scavino, fired off a tweet showing the borders around the 100-or-so acres of the Vatican City.

The walls have been there for centuries and critics have often cited them to criticize the the pope’s push for open borders, noted The Hill.

Tweets about the pope’s comments got very ugly, very quickly.

Trump’s Republican opponents were more measured in their responses. Ben Carson refused to “weigh in on whether Donald Trump is a Christian or not.”

Marco Rubio, who is Catholic, seemed to suggest a certain hypocrisy on the pontiff’s part. “Vatican City controls who comes in, when they come in and how they come in as a city state. And as a result, the United States has a right to do that as well.”

And in a statement to The Daily Beast, Jeb Bush, who converted to Catholicism, left Trump’s Christian status up to Trump “and his creator.”

The pope had a few defenders on social media.

But mostly people saw humor in Pope vs. Trump.

The hashtag #MakeTheVaticanGreatAgain - a riff on Trump’s “Make America Great Again slogan” - quickly popped up, imagining what it would be like if the pope was running against Trump.

At a campaign rally in Kiawah Island, S.C. on Thursday, Trump said that the primary goal of ISIS is to “get to the Vatican.”

“If and when the Vatican is attacked,” he said, “the pope would only wish and have prayed that Donald Trump would have been elected president.”

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