Speaker of the House John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden cried as Pope Francis addressed Congress Thursday. Many other political leaders were visibly moved by the mere first-ever presence of a pope in the chamber.
But reaction also came quickly to the content of the pope’s speech, which was full of politics (we highlighted 10 political moments here). He received applause and (sometimes partisan) standing ovations as he spoke about the death penalty, immigration, defending life, climate change and family. Here is how political leaders, including several presidential candidates, reacted to the pope’s address (we will update as we see more):
Vice President Joe Biden:
Speaker of the House John Boehner:
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson:
Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz:
“I believe the death penalty is a recognition of the preciousness of human life, that for the most egregious crimes, the ultimate punishment should apply.” (Politico)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
“He reminded us of our sacred and inescapable responsibility to those struggling to escape poverty, persecution and war. He challenged us to rescue our planet from the climate crisis that threatens the future of our children and the health of God’s creation – and to do so sensitive to the needs of the poor.”
Presidential candidate and Sen. Marco Rubio :
“Today’s speech was an inspiring moment, to be there and witness the Pope’s speech before Congress. I was moved by the Pope’s message and by the sight of him standing in front of the U.S. flag with the words ‘In God We Trust’ engraved in the wall behind him. The Pope today, reminded us of the faith our nation has placed in God since its very founding, and why we should have a lot of faith in America’s future.
At a time when so many of our people are gripped with uncertainty about the future, the Pope reminded us that America has a special calling as a nation that is guided by high ideals and the moral aims to build a more perfect union and to make the world a better place. He reminded us that, whatever our policy differences might be, we are all called to put the good of our people above all.”
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders: