U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney called Pope Francis a communist on Sunday, a day after he met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Vatican.
Tenney, R-New Hartford, tweeted a response to a photo of Pope Francis shaking hands with Pelosi in a private audience at the Vatican.
“Just two communists,” Tenney wrote.
When a Twitter user responded to Tenney’s tweet and called her an “anti-Catholic congressperson,” she replied, “Lol. I love Pope John Paul II. A kind and truly holy person. He didn’t slap the hands of followers.”
Tenney did not respond today to a request for comment about her tweets.
Pelosi, who is Catholic, met with Pope Francis on the same day he called for lawmakers worldwide to put aside partisan politics and reach a consensus on how to fight climate change.
Pelosi, D-Calif., has also drawn criticism from conservative Catholics in the United States over her support for abortion rights.
In May, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco said prominent Catholics who support abortion rights should be denied Holy Communion.
Pope Francis said the decision about granting Communion to elected officials who support abortion rights should be made from a pastoral point of view, not a political one.
Tenney, a staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump, has attracted national attention in the past for her provocative comments and tweets.
In February 2018 she commented on a mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla., saying “so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats.”
The next month, she was mocked by late-night comedians after she said that “somebody in the deep state” was responsible for ordering a $31,000 dining set at taxpayer expense for then Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s office.
Tenney also defended Trump’s criticism of Democrats who didn’t applaud at his State of the Union address. Tenney said the behavior was “un-American and they don’t love our country.”