Giorgia Meloni landed in Washington on Wednesday evening for her official State visit. On Thursday, ahead of her meeting with President Joe Biden, she was welcomed by a bipartisan delegation of US senators led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of the Democratic Party and the GOP’s Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
- The meeting lasted about 45 minutes and took place in a very positive atmosphere, according to Italian sources. After the initial greetings, PM Meloni thanked her hosts for the warm welcome and emphasised the importance of standing by Ukraine for the whole world – a key issue for the US.
The Senate’s high regard… “[PM] Meloni took office as Europe faced its first large-scale land war in decades and Italy faced the increasing economic vulnerabilities of reliance on China,” Mr McConnell had said on Wednesday; “And by all accounts, she’s addressed these challenges head-on.”
- “Unlike some leaders, she’s done so with refreshing clarity to the Italian people about their own country’s concrete interests in helping Ukraine defend itself,” he added. “I’m also encouraged that the Italian government is unravelling its involvement in China’s so-called Belt and Road Initiative, another indication that European allies are taking steps to protect themselves against China’s economic coercion.”
- The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, discussed Global South issues with the Italian PM, who outlined Rome’s diplomatic work in Africa and coloured the former “impressed”.
… and the House’s worm words. In welcoming PM Meloni to the US Capitol building, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, described her as “probably one of the most impressive leaders” he had found in his May trip to Europe. US-Italy “friendship transcends the parties and politics,” he added, noting the future of bilateral ties can “only be stronger” with her in charge.
- Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, an influential Democrat and the first Italian-American to lead the US Congress, joined the meeting between PM Meloni and a bipartisan delegation of the House.
The bridge over the ideological divide. As the Washington Post pointed out, PM Meloni joined “the small club of foreign hard-right leaders who have visited the Biden White House” thanks to her pragmatic approach. “In her nine months in office, she has managed a balancing act, backing ideologically charged policies at home while staying safely within the Washington consensus on foreign policy. It’s an approach that has put her in a position to shape European policy and lead European Union delegations, while helping to establish her as a model for the global right.”
- President Biden has enjoyed working with her, said US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby at a presser on Wednesday. He answered a question about ideological divergences between the two leaders by noting that Mr Biden “respects the work that he’s been able to do” with her “on a range of issues.”