International

Pope Francis becomes latest world leader to congratulate Joe Biden

Pope Francis on Thursday became the latest in a string of world leaders congratulating Joe Biden on his projected victory in the 2020 election, even as President Trump and a handful of world leaders have refused to acknowledge him as President-elect.

Biden had a phone call with Pope Francis Thursday morning, during which he “thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations,” according to a readout of the call released by the Biden transition team.

Biden also praised the pope’s “leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world” and expressed a desire to work with him on issues like poverty, climate change, and immigration.

Pope Francis is the latest in a long and growing list of world leaders who have acknowledged Biden’s victory, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Only a handful of major world leaders have held out on congratulating Biden, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin – who are seen as U.S. adversaries – and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, one of Trump’s closest foreign allies.

The pope’s call is of particular significance given Francis’ cold relationship with President Trump – who touted the endorsement of an archbishop who called on Francis to resign – and Biden’s status as only the second Catholic to win the presidency, after John F. Kennedy.