It was a Friday full of key meetings for President Biden in Rome as he started his second major international trip ahead of the G20 summit and COP26 international climate talks.
The first order of business was meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. As a deeply religious Catholic, this visit was personal and significant for Biden. It was the fourth meeting between Biden and Francis, and lasted 90 minutes, which was almost twice as long as Biden's meeting with Pope John Paul II in the 1980s when he was a young senator.
Biden cracked jokes with Pope Francis during their meeting and at one point presented him with a special coin that bore the insignia of the 261st Signal Brigade, the Delaware National Guard unit in which his late son Beau served as a captain. "I know my son would want me to give it to you," Biden said. In 2015, the Pope privately counseled Biden and members of his family in the months following Beau Biden's death.
Pope Francis and 10 Papal Gentlemen also met with a larger US delegation, including the President, first lady Jill Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and others, according to the White House.
Following the meeting with the Pope, Biden said Francis told him he was pleased he was a "good Catholic," and that he should continue receiving communion, despite opposition from some conservative American bishops over his support for abortion.
After departing the Vatican, Biden then met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi separately.
In his last meeting of the day, Biden met French President Emmanuel Macron at the French Embassy in Rome. The location of their sitdown was intentional, according to sources, because it signaled a concession from the White House, given the backdrop of the current US-France diplomatic clash over a deal with Australia that cost the French billions of dollars.
Biden admitted that the move was "clumsy" and "not done with a lot of grace."
In his response, Macron emphasized the importance of "stronger coordination" going forward, indicating that he wanted look beyond and tackle the challenges that will be discussed at the G20 summit set to begin tomorrow in Rome and the COP26 world leaders' summit early next week in Glasgow.
CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Kevin Liptak contributed reporting to this post.