OPED: Pope vs. Trump: This has to be a joke, right?
OK, whoever had "Donald Trump gets into feud with Pope Francis" in the Unlikely Presidential Campaign Developments Pool, please step forward and collect your riches.
When asked about Trump during a Wednesday news conference, Pope Francis said: "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."
Predictably, Trump responded with a statement Thursday that appeared to be compiled by his crack team of low-performing sixth-graders: "If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened."
Could you imagine what would have happened had Trump been president, because the would-have president of the United States would have been in charge of Vatican security.
The statement then addressed the pope's comment directly: "For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful."
That's a great point. Only regular leaders are allowed to non-disgracefully question a person's faith, as Trump did six days ago on Twitter: "How can Ted Cruz be an evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?"
It's a shame Trump has never met a mirror he was willing to look into for anything other than self-admiration.
Calling people dopes and losers, demonizing refugees, making fun of disabled people, cursing, lying and praising those who beat other people up at rallies — those are the kind of things that might prompt a pope to describe you as "not Christian."
Nobody's asking anybody to be perfect, but in Trump's case, the application for sainthood would burst into flames as he filled it out.
This, like virtually every other bizarre thing Trump has done, won't make a difference with his supporters. They'll just say, "It's about time we had a president who is tough on popes," and start a #DopeyPopey hashtag and then get back to their scowling.
Which may be further proof that this country has lost its mind. A reality television star is looking more and more likely to be the Republican nominee for president of the United States.
And now he's feuding with Pope Francis.
You can hear the impending sound bites from Trump: "This pope, I mean, he's very low energy. What has he done, he doesn't do anything. He washes some feet. Who does that? It's disgusting. We used to have popes who won. They didn't wash feet, they did huge things, with God and whatnot, great things. This pope is weak and he's a loser. Dopey pope."
There's no way this is actually how a presidential campaign is unfolding. This has to be scripted.
Trump vs. the Vicar of Christ.
Whoever's writing this plot, please come out now.
Rex Huppke is a Chicago Tribune columnist. Readers may send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org