"He has a lot of personality," Trump said
"He's very different, he's a very different kind of a guy, and I think he's doing a very good job. A lot of energy."
According to The Hill: Earlier on Thursday, Trump said the pope publicly questioned his faith with a statement that said building walls "is not Christian." Trump called a religious leader questioning a person's faith "disgraceful."
But he told CNN's Anderson Cooper that after seeing the pope's actual statements, it seems nicer than what was originally portrayed.
"I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media," he said.
Trump added that the pope only knew one side of the story.
"Somehow the government of Mexico spoke with the pope. I mean, they spent a lot of time with the pope, and by the time they left, they made the statement," he said.
Asked what he thought the Mexican government's role was, Trump said, "they probably talked about 'isn't it terrible that Mr Trump wants to have border security,' " he said.
"I think that he heard one side of the story, which is probably by the Mexican government," he said.
But Trump said the bottom line is that the country needs stronger border security.
"I don't like fighting with the pope, actually. I don't think this is a fight," he said.
Trump said he respects the pope's position and likes what the he represents.
The initial report by Reuters: Pope Francis assailed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's views on U.S. immigration as "not Christian" on Thursday, prompting the billionaire businessman to assail the religious leader as "disgraceful" for questioning his faith.
Trump, the longtime party front-runner in national opinion polls, has been at the center of controversies, including one over his vow as president to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.
In a freewheeling conversation on his flight home from a visit to Mexico, Francis told reporters: "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."
Trump, a real estate developer and former reality TV star, said: "If and when the Vatican is attacked by the ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president," Trump said in a speech in South Carolina, using an acronym for the Islamic State militant group.
"For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as president I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened," Trump said in a news release responding to the pope.
"No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith," Trump said.
Trump has also said he would deport millions of illegal immigrants if he wins his party's nomination and then the Nov. 8 election. Last week, responding to the pope's plan to visit the U.S.-Mexican border, he said that Pope Francis did not understand the Mexican border issues.
"The pope is a very political person. I think he doesn't understand the problems our country has. I don't think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico," he said.
Asked about being called a "political person", Francis said on Thursday: "Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as 'animal politicus.' So at least I am a human person."