Biden said the coin he handed over to Francis contained symbols of the 261st Signal Brigade Division of the Delaware Army National Guard, of which the president’s son, Pew Biden, served as captain.
“I would like to give you a coin with your permission. It has an American stamp on the front, but I know what’s the difference with this coin, in general – my son has to give it to you. On the back of it is the 261st unit where Delaware State and my son worked,” he said. Biden gave the pope a large gold coin.
During a visit to the Vatican on Friday, the President presented coins to “war veterans and leaders” who said, “You are the most important war veteran for peace I have ever met.”
“Now the tradition is – I’ll tell you funny about it – next time I see you, you have to buy drinks if you don’t have it. I’m the only Irishman you’ve ever met. I’m drunk,” said the smiling pope.
“The Irish people love whiskey,” Francis joked.
Biden also presented President Francis with hand-woven clothing from the 1930s from the archives of Holy Trinity Church, Parish, Washington, D.C.
According to a White House official, the dress was a “hand-woven fiddleback chassis” commissioned by Rome Cammerelli in 1930 and used by the Society of Jesus in the United States. The chassis was designed by artisans in Washington, D.C., with historic marbles from “Naturally Fallen Trees from the White House Grounds” and the church’s original sermon.
The Jesuit Church in the Georgetown area of Washington was founded in the late 1700s by President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy also attended and was visited by President Abraham Lincoln.
A White House official said winter clothes would be donated by the White House to charities in the name of the Holy Father to commemorate World Poor Day next month.
Gifts presented by the Pope to the President include ceramic tiles with engraved designs and his latest writings.
Later, Biden – aged 78 – 84 teased Francis about his age. Releasing a story about African American baseball player Chatchel Baiz, Biden described his approach to aging: “How old would you be if you didn’t know. How old are you?”
“You are 65,” the president said. “I’m 60. God loves you.”
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