The Dalai Lama expressed concern about the future of the U.S. under the leadership of President Trump in comments published on Wednesday, saying the U.S. was becoming more “selfish” and “nationalist.”
“Your ancestors really considered the importance of liberty, freedom, democracy, these things,” the spiritual leader of Tibet told The Washington Post.
“The present president, in the very beginning he mentioned ‘America first.’ That sounded in my ear not very nice,” he continued.
The religious leader went on to criticize the Trump administration’s policies regarding global warming, saying Trump is not paying enough attention to the issue.
“The present president is not much paying attention to ecology. So on that, I feel some reservation,” he said, adding “But anyway, the American people elected him, so I must respect [that].”
The Dalai Lama is not the first religious leader to criticize Trump’s policies and rhetoric.
Pope Francis has notably clashed with Trump over climate change and immigration.
The Catholic leader, who met with the president earlier this year, blasted Trump’s announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last month, saying the president should reconsider if he considers himself to be “pro-life.”
Trump has yet to meet with the Dalai Lama, though Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) pressed the president to meet with the Buddhist leader in a letter last year.