Donald Trump Just Gave the Pope a Sculpture and It’s Everything You Thought It Would Be

The bronze artwork is meant to evoke "unity and resilience."

Geoffrey C. Smith with his Rising Above sculpture, photo via

POTUS loves the lotus, apparently—so much so he just gave one to the Vatican. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump, accompanied by his wife, Melania, exchanged gifts with Pope Francis. Pope Francis gave the President a large medallion depicting an olive branch, saying, “I give this to you so that you can be an instrument of peace.”

Along with the symbolic olive branch, the Pope presented Trump with copies of his writings, including his 2015 treatise on Climate Change. Trump, in turn, presented the pontiff with a bronze sculpture of the lotus plant, Rising Above, created by Florida-based artist Geoffrey C. Smith, along with a set of Martin Luther King Jr’s writings, according to NPR.


The sculpture depicts a lotus plant because it “evokes two universal values: unity and resilience,” according to the White House. Smith’s works have served as tokens of appreciation for President George H.W. Bush, and Vice-President Dan Quayle, according to his website. Smith’s milieu is inspired by his water front surroundings—his gallery and studio are both located in Stuart, Florida, about an hour’s drive from Mar-a-Lago—and often depict wildlife and other aquatic themed subjects. Smith’s works include the octopus-themed Dance of the Depths, and Spirit of the Sail, a 19-foot bronze sailfish, in which the needle-nosed fish is captured mid-leap, accompanied by gushing fountains, a monument to the fishing culture in Stuart.

Smith’s gallery confirmed the White House’s description of the work, but declined to elaborate further.

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