President Biden had dropped everything, including dealing with multiple crises at home, to jet abroad to Europe for summits in Rome, Italy and Glasgow, Scotland, where presumably would be more popular than he currently is at home.
But a strange thing happened on Thursday when the Pope suddenly canceled a live broadcast with the U.S. president without providing an explanation. The Washington Post reported on the odd occurrence:
The Vatican on Thursday abruptly canceled the planned live broadcast of U.S. President Joe Biden meeting Pope Francis, the latest restriction to media coverage of the Holy See.
The Vatican press office provided no explanation for why the live broadcast of Biden’s visit had been trimmed to cover just the arrival of the president’s motorcade in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, where a Vatican monsignor will greet him.
Cancelled was any live coverage of Biden actually greeting Francis in the palace Throne Room, as well as the live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private talks in Francis’ library, at which time the cameras normally would have stopped running.
The Vatican said it would provide edited footage of the encounter after the fact to accredited media.
Did the Pope take one look at the beleaguered U.S. president and decide that it wasn’t worth the risk going live? Was there a personal disagreement? There were no reasons given.
Biden has met Pope Francis three previous time, but this would be his first time as president. Biden is also the second Catholic President, although one would not necessarily have guessed that from his progressive views on abortion and gay marriage.
President Biden is slated to go to the G20 meetings overseas, along with the leaders of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the European Union.
However, multiple G20 leaders will be skipping the summit to attend to issues back home: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japan’s new prime minister Fumio Kishida, and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. They have all announced that they definitely will not attend, although they may virtually attend sessions. Other leaders not expected to attend include Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The president certainly has his hands full at home with a number of serious issues to manage. If he can’t even handle a live broadcast with the Pope, it’s safe to say that all is not well with the Biden White House.