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The surreal, funny dialogue between Pope Francis and Melania Trump

Alessandra Tarantino | POOL | AFP
Pope Francis (C) walks past US First Lady Melania Trump (R) and the daughter of US President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump (L) at the end of a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alessandra Tarantino
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Slovenian sweets or pizza?

This might have been one of the most surreal conversations, in recent history, to take place within Vatican walls. It was also funny and playful, though. When greeting each other, Pope Francis (making use of his already well-known warm sense of humor and sympathy) asked Melania Trump about a typical Slovenian sweet: the “potica.” “Madame, what do you feed him? (obviously referring to President Trump) Potica?” The First Lady apparently didn’t understand Pope Francis’ question on the spot, and replied (according to most international media) “Oh, yes, pizza!”. Here’s the video –

Hours after the event, there has been much debate in the press about whether the First Lady understood the Pope’s question or not, or if his reference was lost in the translation of his Spanish. The Pope asked in Spanish, “What do you give him to eat … ‘potica’?” The translator relayed, “What do you give him to eat,” adding, “is it …”,  when Melania interjected, “potica? Yes.” The name of the dessert sounds like po-tee-sa, which with Melania’s response, led commentators originally to understand that she misunderstood him to say “pizza.” In any case, it was a charming conversation.

Very few people are aware of the predilection and affection Bergoglio feels for this typical Slovenian sweet. In fact, for Pope Francis, “potica,” kind of “runs in the family.” His own niece, María Inés Navajo, is married to a Slovenian, and every time the Pontiff meets someone from that country, it reminds him of how good this delicacy, usually eaten on Easter Sunday, is. Clearly, Pope Francis was trying to make the First Lady feel at home.

 

Shutterstock-Dani Vincek
Potica, postre típico esloveno.
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