The obstacle of the motion against in Santanché was also overcome by the Meloni government. An issue that actually never destabilized the majority, which from the very beginning closed around the Tourism Minister. What made headlines was, once again, the constructive support of Terzo Polo, which walked out of the Senate chamber on the day of the vote because it disagreed with the “nature” of the individual motion. The opposition again emerged divided and weakened. Santanché, on the other hand, has turned out to be a weakness for the government and her affair is “exciting” certain press causing a potential problem for consensus. A problem, however, which politically, for the moment, seems archived.
Meloni was thus able to leave quietly for Washington, where she had her long-awaited meeting with US President Joe Biden.
The one to the White House is an easy mission, because there is strong agreement between the United States and Italy: on Ukraine in the first place, which is the main front of Western diplomacy. But the one to Washington is also a slippery visit, because politically Meloni is closer to Joe Biden’s opponents, to the Republicans who are preparing the impeachment of the President: a pretentious initiative with no prospect of success, but a troublesome disruptive action in view of the election campaign for US 2024. Meloni manages to keep the two plans separate: as a political leader, she acknowledges that her family is that of conservatives – indeed, the speaker of the Chamber, Republican Kevin McCarthy, testifies to her in particular appreciation – ; as premier, she exalts the solid relationship between the two countries, listens to the American point of view on relations with China and gets attention for the Italian approach to Africa, also in view of Italy’s rotating presidency of the G7 next year – a priority will also be the reconstruction of Ukraine, in the hope that the conflict has ended -.
The conversation in the Oval Office lasts more than an hour and a half. From the President, the Prime Minister collects an opening for Italian moves on the issue that has become the primary figure of her foreign policy: the focus on the Southern flank, the commitment to no longer leave the Mediterranean and Africa uncovered, not only to curb the wave of migrants, but to develop their potential. And the US is benevolently awaiting the contents and details of the Mattei Plan, the ambitious program with which Italy wants to pose as a mediator for a new model of collaboration and growth between the EU and African nations, also with the aim of countering the energy and migration crisis.
Food security is also an issue on the table as Russian President Vladimir Putin meets African leaders in St. Petersburg for the Russia-Africa Summit and promises them grain will no longer come from Ukraine after the end of the “grain peace”.
In “difficult times we know who our friends are”, Meloni says before the bilateral with Biden. And she stresses that relations between the two countries are independent “of the political color of their governments”: reasoning that her “harmony” with the Republicans does not prevent her “from having a very good relationship” with the Democratic Administration.
She who called herself the underdog of Italian politics proudly enters the White House: “I do not feel like Cinderella” she tells reporters, “I am aware of my role and the country I represent”. Around her, there is curiosity, even from the American press, about the first Italian female and right-wing Prime Minister to set foot in the White House: she is the most right-wing chief executive in Republican history, local media point out.
The issue that most engages Meloni and Biden is China, ahead of the decision, which Italy has yet to make, whether to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with Beijing on the New Silk Road. No pressure, assures Meloni, who had already said she wanted to hear the American point of view before choosing what to do: “The United States has never posed the question of what Italy should do” Meloni insists. A visit by her to Beijing is on the agenda: it will be one of the “next missions.”