President Donald Trump on Saturday said he would invite Italy’s new prime minister to the White House, adding that “the people of Italy got it right!” in electing the populist leader who backed his call to bring Russia back to the G-7 group of nations.
“Just met the new Prime Minister of Italy, @GiuseppeConteIT, a really great guy,” the president wrote on Twitter. “He will be honored in Washington, at the @WhiteHouse, shortly. He will do a great job – the people of Italy got it right!”
Giuseppe Conte leads a coalition government between the country’s two populist parties, the anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the far-right League, formed after months of negotiations following the country’s March 4 elections.
Conte was a previously little-known lawyer and academic who spent time in the U.S. studying at Yale University before the 5Star Movement put him forward during the campaign as a possible choice for prime minister. Both parties ran on a platform that bristled against immigration and the European Union’s influence.
Trump’s suggestion to let Russia back into the G-7 shocked some of his fellow leaders, who pointed out that Russia’s ouster was punishment for its invasion and annexation of Crimea. But Conte, who has said he would support “revising” some of the EU’s sanctions on Russia, welcomed Trump’s idea.
“I agree with the President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should be back in the G8,” Conte wrote on Twitter. “It is in everyone’s interest.”