Italy is on course to create the most right-wing government since World War II with Giorgia Meloni as Italy’s first female prime minister. She has positioned herself as a Trump-style populist, vowing that her party would “govern for everyone.”
The center-right coalition that drove her to victory is made up of three parties: Fratelli d’Italia; the far-right League, led by Matteo Salvini; and Forza Italia, headed by Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister who was convicted of tax fraud and named in a 2011 U.S. State Department human-trafficking report.
Following her triumph on Tuesday September 28, several Republicans praised her win. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, hailed the election results as “spectacular,” while Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., tweeted that he looked “forward to working with her” to “advance our shared interests.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., also lauded Meloni and congratulated her on her victory. This Republican from Georgia was elected to Congress in 2020 as a known conspiracy theorist and QAnon sympathizer. In her one term and the time leading up to it, she’s attacked LGBTQ+ people, prominent Democrats, and a Supreme Court nominee. She has made outrageous claims about pedophilia, space lasers starting forest fires, and the upcoming extinction of straight people.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson said her victory was a “revolution.” Carlson, the most popular Fox News television host, is the most conservative and outspoken Trump supporter whose theories about Democrats and conspiracies are the wildest of any. Currently, as hurricane Ian heads for the Florida mainland, having already knocked out power all over the island of Cuba, Carlson teased an upcoming segment by implying that hurricanes are a “scam.” He has called the insurgents that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020, “gentle people waving American flags”.
Meloni has had long-standing ties with key members of U.S. politics. Since 2018, Steve Bannon, a White House adviser under President Donald Trump, has supported her in her rise to political stardom. Indeed his support may have propelled her victory. Four years ago, Fratelli d’Italia held only 4% of the vote in Italy — far lower than the 26% won in this past election.
Attending one of Bannon’s right-wing rallies in Europe in 2018, Meloni told the Daily Beast that she saw him as an “ally,” adding, “We share ideals. We need to hear what he says.”
Benjamin Harnwell, the international editor of Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, previously told Yahoo News that he remembers Bannon calling Meloni “a rock star” after their first meeting. “This woman is going to transform Italy,” Harnwell recalls Bannon saying at the time. Taylor Green, Bannon and Carlson all promote “replacement theory,” as does Meloni and her party coalition.
These are the friends and allies that Meloni keeps. And if we look at the role that these ultra conservatives have played and continue to play in dividing the US and driving hatred and animosity among its people, then Italy has a lot to worry about.