Pope Francis meets with President Joe Biden during an audience at the Apostolic Palace on October 29, 2021 in Vatican City, Vatican. Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images
President Biden met Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, giving him a presidential “command coin.”
Biden joked that if the Pope didn’t have it the next time they met, he’ll “have to buy the drinks.”
“I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met who’s never had a drink,” Biden added.
President Joe Biden met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday, presenting him with a presidential command coin while telling the religious leader that he’s the “only Irishman you’ve ever met who’s never had a drink.”
Biden, like former President Donald Trump, does not drink alcohol.
“I’m not sure if this is appropriate, but there’s a tradition in America,” Biden began, speaking with the Pope through a translator. “The president has what is called a ‘command coin’ that he gives to warriors and leaders.”
“And you are the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met,” he told the Pope. “And with your permission, I’d like to be able to give you a coin.”
Biden then presented the coin to Francis, pointing out the US Seal on the front and the emblem for the 261st Signal Brigade unit in the Delaware Army National Guard that Biden’s son, Beau, served in on the back. “I know my son would want me to give this to you,” he said.
“Now the tradition is, and I’m only kidding about this,” Biden said as he put the coin into the Pope’s hand. “If next time I see you and you don’t have it, you have to buy the drinks.”
“I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met who’s never had a drink,” he quickly added, to which the Pope responded through his translator that Irish people “love whiskey.”
“I know that!” Biden exclaimed.
Biden, who is the first Catholic president of the United States since John F. Kennedy, was meeting with Pope Francis for the 4th time. He previously met with him in 2013, 2015, and 2016 when he served as Vice President.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that the pair would be discussing climate change, migration, income inequality, and other issues. Biden made the stop at the Vatican and Italy ahead of traveling to the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
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