Pope Francis Gives Trump Copy of His Encyclical on Climate Change

Pope Francis meets with President Donald Trump / AP

Pope Francis gave President Trump a copy of his 2015 encyclical letter on climate change during their meeting Wednesday at the Vatican.

"Well, I'll be reading them," Trump responded to the gifts, according to the Hill.

The gesture has political undertones, as the Pope called for action to combat climate change in the encyclical, while Trump has stated climate change is a hoax.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters afterward that Pope Francis encouraged Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate change agreement.

However, the two men reportedly had a friendly meeting overall, with Trump smiling and frequently saying "thank you very much" to remarks and advice from Pope Francis. Afterwards, Trump said their interaction was "fantastic."

The Pope also gave Trump an olive tree medal that symbolizes peace, and he signed it personally, according to CNN. Trump gave the religious leader a first-edition set of writings by Martin Luther King, Jr., noting that the Pope's address to Congress in 2015 quoted the civil rights leader.

In a statement, the Vatican said the two men discussed "the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue" and focused on the need to protect vulnerable Christians in the Middle East.

Trump and Pope Francis clashed last year during the presidential campaign, when the latter said, without naming Trump specifically, that it wasn't Christian to build walls. Trump fired back that it was "disgraceful" for the Pope to question his faith.