Donald Trump has ordered two high profile military strikes during his brief time as commander in chief. The first was the Tomahawk missile strike against an air base in Syria. The second was the first-ever dropping of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb on an ISIS target in Afghanistan.
President Trump didn’t waste any time taking credit for the MOAB strike. At a hastily arranged press conference shortly after the attack in Nangarhar province was announced, Trump told reporters:
“We are so proud of our military. It was another successful event. Everybody knows exactly what happened. What I do, is I authorize my military. We have given them total authorization. Frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”
The MOAB is the most destructive non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, which has inspired the nickname ‘Mother Of All Bombs.’ That tongue-and-cheek reassignment of the letters of the bomb’s acronym, and its cavalier use by the White House, has drawn the ire of none other than Pope Francis.
“I was ashamed when I heard the name. A mother gives life and this one gives death, and we call this device a mother. What is happening?”
This isn’t the first time His Holiness has taken a jab at a Donald Trump statement or policy. In February of 2016, while on an official visit to Mexico, Pope Francis responded to a question from reporters about then candidate Trump’s anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric, saying:
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”
In February of this year, days after President Trump’s first attempt to enforce a Muslim travel ban by executive order, the Pope dedicated a portion of his weekly radio address to say, “In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls, but to build bridges,” according to the AP. “To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offense with forgiveness. A Christian would never say ‘you will pay for that.’ Never.”
This latest jab at Trump’s dismissive and flippant attitude toward a military strike that reportedly killed 92 ISIS militants comes just a day after the White House announced the President will be visiting the Vatican as part of his first official foreign trip, after stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel later this month.
We’ll see how subtle the Pope is with his critiques then.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.