Administration

Biden congratulates far-right Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni after swearing in

Far-Right party Brothers of Italy's leader Giorgia Meloni shows a placard reading in Italian "Thank you Italy" at her party's electoral headquarters in Rome, early Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.
(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Far-Right party Brothers of Italy’s leader Giorgia Meloni shows a placard reading in Italian “Thank you Italy” at her party’s electoral headquarters in Rome, early Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Italians voted in a national election that might yield the nation’s first government led by the far right since the end of World War II. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

President Biden congratulated Italy’s newly sworn in prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, on her election victory Saturday, the first woman in the country’s history to hold the high post.

“I congratulate Giorgia Meloni on becoming the new Prime Minister of Italy,” Biden said, according to a statement released by the White House.

“Italy is a vital NATO Ally and close partner as our nations together address shared global challenges.”

Meloni and her hard-right coalition were elected the majority in Italian Parliament in September. The leader and her Cabinet team were sworn in on Saturday, giving the country the most right-wing government since World War II, according to Reuters.

Meloni is a member of the conservative Brothers of Italy party, which has been tied to neo-facism.

“We will defend God, country and family,” she said in her victory speech after winning the Italian election last month.

“Those things that disgust people so much. We will do it to defend our freedom, because we will never be slaves and simple consumers at the mercy of financial speculators. That is our mission. That is why I came here today.”

Biden previously expressed concern over Meloni’s election, sharing her victory as a warning to the U.S. of the possibility of far-right leadership.

“You just saw what’s happened in Italy in that election. You’re seeing what’s happening around the world. And the reason I bother to say that is we can’t be sanguine about what’s happening here either,” the president said the week of Meloni’s election win.

While Biden did not mention Meloni by name at the time, he did criticize the Brothers of Italy party as a warning to the American government.

However, Saturday’s message from the president focused on cooperation.

“As leaders in the G7, I look forward to continuing to advance our support for Ukraine, hold Russia accountable for its aggression, ensure respect for human rights and democratic values, and build sustainable economic growth,” Biden wrote.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shared similar sentiments concerning the Italian election shortly after it occurred.

“It’s a NATO ally, as you know, a G-7 partner and member of the EU,” she said of Italy at a press conference.

“So, we will work with the new Italian government on the full range of shared global challenges, including supporting Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s aggression.”

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