Trump says offered Pope Francis help over Notre Dame

Washington: President Donald Trump said Wednesday he offered US construction expertise for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame cathedral in a conversation with Pope Francis.

Trump tweeted that he’d had a “wonderful conversation” with the head of the Roman Catholic Church and expressed condolences about the fire in the heart of Paris.

“I offered the help of our great experts on renovation and construction,” he added.

Although the cathedral is one of the most famous Catholic churches in the world, it was not clear what role the Vatican, if any, would play in reconstruction after Monday’s huge blaze.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the entire restoration should be completed in just five years — an ambitious timeline given the scale of the damage to the 850-year-old jewel of Gothic architecture.

Trump, who prides himself on his knowledge of construction techniques after a lifetime in the real estate business, tweeted that he’d made the same offer of help to Macron when they talked earlier.

“I also wished both Pope Francis and President Macron a very Happy Easter!” he said.

Shortly after the fire began, quickly consuming the cathedral’s roof, a shocked Trump tweeted that the French should consider sending aerial water tankers. “Must act quickly!” he wrote.

Paris firefighters were not impressed with the president’s advice, pointing out that the high-impact dumping of water, which is often used against wild fires, would risk demolishing the cathedral walls.