NBC Reporter: GOP Senator’s Hands ‘Tightly Clasped’ When Pope Mentioned Environment

Pope Francis‘ visit to the U.S. was expected to bring out stark contrasts between the pontiff’s views on issues like climate change and economics and those of the Republican Party. While the reception to Francis’ remarks in front of a joint session of Congress on Thursday morning was overwhelmingly positive, one reporter noticed a GOP senator physically clasping his hands when the pope mentioned the environment.

Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News said during the network’s coverage of the speech that Pope Francis’ political involvement was “engaged, but restrained,” adding that the address was unlike one to be expected from the president or other world leaders.

“I watched as Bernie Sanders cupped both ears leaning forward to try to hear a bit better as the Holy Father was talking about issues that he is saying on the campaign trail about poverty, about social justice,” O’Donnell said.

But while Sanders, an avowed democratic socialist, was apparently pleased with what he heard from the pope, one Republican senator was not. James Inhofe (R-OK) is a vocal skeptic of the idea that humans contribute to a changing climate, and once brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to blast the “hysteria on global warming.”

O’Donnell observed that Inhofe was not applauding as others were, and said his hands were “tightly clasped” when the pope brought up the environment. In his speech, the pontiff called on the U.S. to take “courageous actions” to “avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity.”

Watch the video above, via NBC.

[h/t Grabien]
[Featured image via NBC / screengrab]

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