Trump says he offered his 'great experts' to Pope Francis, Macron to rebuild Notre Dame

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he had spoken with Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron to offer the help of “great experts on renovation” to help rebuild Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.

The president said in tweets that he offered “condolences from the People of the United States for the horrible and destructive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral” to the Roman Catholic leader.

“I offered the help of our great experts on renovation and construction as I did in my conversation yesterday” with Macron, Trump wrote.

Notre Dame, an over-850-year-old cathedral in the French capital, sustained substantial damage in a massive fire on Monday believed to have been linked to renovation work at the site.

As the fire was raging on Monday, Trump suggested first responders use “flying water tankers” to extinguish it.

“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” the president tweeted shortly after news broke of the blaze. “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

France’s civil security agency tweeted in apparent response Monday evening that dropping water from a helicopter or airplane could cause the entire cathedral to collapse and lead to collateral damage to surrounding buildings.

Firefighters managed to contain the blaze after roughly nine hours, saving many of the priceless artifacts and works of art contained inside. The cathedral’s iconic steeple, as well as large portions of its walls and roof, were destroyed.

Donors have pledged nearly $1 billion to aid with renovation efforts. Macron has said he wants reconstruction to be completed within five years ― a goal experts say is likely wildly ambitious.

Pope Francis offered prayers on Tuesday that sorrow over the damage would be “transformed into hope.”

“Today we unite in prayer with the people of France, as we wait for the sorrow inflicted by the serious damage to be transformed into hope with reconstruction,” stated a tweet from the pontiff’s account on Tuesday.

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Massive fire damages Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
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Massive fire damages Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
Smoke rises around the altar in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Sparks fill the air as Paris fire brigade members spray water to extinguish flames as the Notre Dame Cathedral burns in Paris, France, April 15, 2019. Picture taken April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
General view from the entrance shows smoke rising around the altar in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool
Firefighters douse flames from the burning Notre Dame Cathedral as people look on in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Firefighters douse flames from the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Fire fighters douse flames of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fire fighters douse flames of the burning Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. (Photo by Pierre Galey / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE GALEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. (Photo by Pierre Galey / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE GALEY/AFP/Getty Images)
Norte Dame reportedly on fire now, Paris: Via @almacy https://t.co/G1FwAvOVGD
Notre Dame, Paris, is on fire and it feels like the end of the world. https://t.co/qYYk7ewipq
Smoke billows as flames destroy the roof of the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019. - A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 15, 2019: Notre-Dame de Paris, a Catholic cathedral founded in the 11th century, has caught fire. Stoyan Vassev/TASS (Photo by Stoyan Vassev\TASS via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Flames burn the roof of the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. - A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Plumes of smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. - A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Seen from across the Seine River, smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
A still image taken from a video shows flames and thick smoke billowing from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS TV/via REUTERS
Smoke billows from the Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out, in Paris, France, April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Julie Carriat
Smoke billows from Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire broke out, in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A still image taken from a video shows flames and thick smoke billowing from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS TV/via REUTERS
A view shows scaffolding around the spire of Notre-Dame cathedral during restoration work in Paris, France, April 11, 2019. Picture taken April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
View of Notre-Dame Cathedral after a fire devastated large parts of the gothic gem in Paris, France April 16, 2019. A massive fire consumed the cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
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Trump continued to address the fire after his “flying water tanker” suggestion fell flat on Monday. Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump also offered their condolences.

Some commentators pointed out that neither Trump nor Pence had spoken out after three predominantly African American churches in Louisiana were recently destroyed in arson attacks.

“The church fires have, of course, drawn wide coverage and attention. The Louisiana governor mentioned it in his recent state of the state,” wrote Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott. “But top Trump administration officials have not spoken out on or condemned the violence.”

The Notre Dame fire, however, prompted renewed attention to the Louisiana churches and sparked a fresh wave of donations to help those houses of worship rebuild.

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