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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has spent much of his campaign trying to convince the American public that all of the racists and white nationalists supporting him must have done so by mistake. But a meeting on Monday with an Italian far-right political leader known for his xenophobic remarks has shown that Trump’s casual racism is anything but.

While the contents of their 20-minute discussion were not publicized, Trump and Matteo Salvini, leader of the xenophobic Italian Lega Nord and member of the European Parliament, are natural allies. They’re bombastic in their rhetoric, represent a resurgent right wing in their respective countries and have praised — or in Trump’s case, retweeted — Italian fascist Benito Mussolini.

In addition leaving Italy on the eve of its Liberation Day celebrations, which mark the end of Italy’s fascist government, Salvini one-upped Trump in his praise of Il Duce.

“Mussolini did many good things in the twenty years before the racial laws and the alliance with Hitler,” said Salvini during a radio interview in February. Among the “good things” Mussolini did before allying himself with Adolf Hitler was crush political dissent, severely curtail press freedom, outlaw labor strikes and established a police state to reinforce his dominance over the country.

The Philadelphia meeting was organized by Amato Berardi, president of the National Italian-American PAC and a former Italian parliamentarian who represented Silvio Berlusconi’s The People for Freedom Party (PdL), now part of the Forza Italia party. Since Berlusconi’s final exit as Italy’s prime minister in 2011, Salvini has sought to become the next undisputed leader of the Italian right.

Towards the end of their meeting, Trump wished Salvini well. “Matteo, I hope you become prime minister soon,” Trump told him, according Italian news agency ANSA.

The Lega Nord head has been dubbed “the most dangerous man in Italy” by The Daily Beast. He has often invoked the same anti-establishment language used by Trump, but aimed at what many perceive to be Europe’s establishment, the European Union itself. “The problem isn’t [Italian Prime Minister Matteo] Renzi,” said Salvini during a rally in March 2015 in Rome. “Renzi is a pawn. Renzi is a dumb slave at the disposal of nameless people who want to control all of our lives from Brussels.”

And the party’s xenophobia isn’t relegated to the eccentricities of its outspoken leader. In a 2010 U.S. State Department report, it noted that despite encouraging engagement with all of Italy’s parties, regardless of their political stances, Lega Nord party members disqualified themselves several times from taking part in those initiatives.

The embassy had rescinded one nomination [to the International Leadership Visitor Program] after the candidate was convicted for an incident of racial incitement and froze another after a prospective nongov­ernmental host discovered prejudicial information about the candidate online.

Similarly, Freedom House reports going back as far as 2004 have warned that “The Lega Nord party continues to inject intolerance into national politics by organizing anti-Islamic campaigns, protesting, for example, the building of mosques.”

It is notable, though, that not all of Europe’s far right leaders support Trump, even if they risk becoming a minority in their own movements. Marine Le Pen, the most recognizable face of Europe’s new, younger far right leaders, has been decidedly cool about the racist businessman’s rhetoric, even towards Muslims, a demographic she constantly attacks at home. “Seriously, have you ever heard me say something like that?” said Le Pen in response to Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. “I defend all the French people in France, regardless of their origin, regardless of their religion.”

The risks of a Trump presidency go far beyond American shores. His victory would undoubtedly buoy the hopes of politicians like Salvini, who are jumping on the Trump anti-establishment, anti-immigrant bandwagon in the hopes that his victory would present them with a roadmap to their own victories back home. The below photo of the insignia of the neo-Nazi Greek party, Golden Dawn, superimposed over Trump’s face is just one sign of growing support for his ideas and rhetoric on the other side of the Atlantic.

Electoral victory for these parties isn’t unthinkable, especially not for Salvini. Polls last summer put his popularity at a few points below Italy’s current prime minister, a truly dangerous prospect in this dangerous time.

Photo: European Union 2015 – European Parliament/Flickr

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16 responses to “Trump Meets With Italian Far-Right Leader In Pennsylvania”

  1. Otto T. Goat says:

    We are working together, and there is nothing you can do about it.

    • King of America says:

      We can just wait for you to die; the median age of you racists is like 70. Two more elections and you won’t even be a footnote in the history books.

      • Corpus_Innominata says:

        Generation Identity is a youth movement. Europeans generally live longer than Americans. Your demise will most likely come before theirs.

        The new definition of racist is anyone with pale skin color. In South Africa the liberals are getting slaughtered faster than the non-liberals.

      • The lucky one says:

        “We can just wait for all of you to die of old age; the median age of you racists is like 70.”

        I wish that was true but median means that half of the racists are under 70. I don’t see us being rid of that problem anytime soon.

  2. Otto T. Goat says:

    Golden Dawn is the one party that had nothing to do with Greece’s implosion.

    • Sherrilljmorelock2 says:

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      • Corpus_Innominata says:

        Google AdWords is almost free to anyone who wants to do it. No need to pay $300 for something we could just get ourselves for a few bucks.
        Silly scammers.

  3. “Birds of a feather flock together”.

    There is no mystery to those of us in America, and indeed in the world, why the far-right elements like neo-Nazis, the KKK, a certain leader in Russia, Europe’s far-right elements, and the rabble in America are attracted to the likes of His Lordship.
    Just as flies seek out a smelly carcass or dung pile on which congregate, the more unsavory elements of humanity are attracted to the personage of his Donaldship.

    The bigger question is “how to undo this exemplar of the distortion of the soul and clear away the self-centered ethos that motivates such deficient and mentally inert beings?”

    At this stage of arrested development of these entities, as well as that of all “conservative” human forces in the world, no manner of man-made interventions or man-made philosophies/ideologies can correct this form of stasis and spiritual decay.
    Nor can the status quo Religious Institutions in their present form adequately address this depraved state that we find ourselves surrounded by.

    A liberal infusion of “A New Wine” may be what is required, because the previous “Wine” has lost its potency—hence, the rapid expansion expansion of forces of darkness, dogma, fanaticism, xenophobia, and similar desiccating influences.

    Therefore, we must look to an outside Agency/Influence that transcends the limited unities that many of us have already attached ourselves to, such as racialism and its outward expression(racism), political alignment, extreme nationalist tendencies, “colorism”, identity based on one’s particular ‘religious dogmatic preference’, etc.

    The following, in a lofty and transcendent tone, describes the present condition in America, and elsewhere:

    “O SON OF DESIRE! Give ear unto this: Never shall mortal eye recognize the everlasting Beauty, nor the lifeless heart delight in aught but in the withered bloom. For like seeketh like, and taketh pleasure in the company of its kind.”

    (From # 10 of ‘The Persian Section’ of Baha’u’llah’s “The Hidden Words”)

    JUST MY OPINION

    • Corpus_Innominata says:

      It’s actually even simpler than that. I just wish I could afford a modest house so I could retire. But globalism/plutocracy won’t let me do that. Time for me to vote against globalist plutocracy. If I get labeled “racist” or “xenophobic” for that then so be it.

      • There’s a lot of “I” and “me” in your response. My point is to inject a new trend into the conversations that often center around “what’s in it for me”. I too wish to retire in comfort, but the welfare of others in need “trumps” my welfare. That’s a Baha’i perspective and may seem like a very foreign concept to many others.

        What on earth is “globalist plutocracy”? Or are you content with “local plutocracy”?

        Finally, if anyone doesn’t mind having the imprimatur of “racist” or “xenophobic” stamped on their brow, then there’s not much that any enlightened person can do to sway said individual from that viewpoint.

  4. Steven Mason says:

    When Mussolini first campaigned for political power his slogan and pledge was to “make Italy great again!” When Hitler first ran for office his slogan and pledge wa

    • Corpus_Innominata says:

      Unemployment rate from over 30% down to 2% in just a year and a half. The Great Depression ended in Germany very quickly. Building of the Autobahn (infrastructure) and the world’s first economy car. Things were rollin’.

      Germany made the mistake of not being “isolationist.” Trump, however, is an isolationist.

      • So, is “isolationism” a good thing? It worked well for paleolithic and pre-Industrial times, but in today’s highly interconnected social milieu, that’s an anachronistic and self-centered philosophy—a philosophy fit for the trash bin of early 20th Century.
        Things and people change, and conservatives have never been able to cope well with change, even since the time of Pharoah—it gives them an itch where the sun doesn’t shine. (Ask Trump about his itch—it’s driving him crazy).

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