President Donald Trump praised Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte following the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada, calling the new leader “a really great guy” Saturday.
“Just met the new Prime Minister of Italy, @GiuseppeConteIT, a really great guy. He will be honored in Washington, at the @WhiteHouse, shortly. He will do a great job – the people of Italy got it right!” Trump tweeted.
Just met the new Prime Minister of Italy, @GiuseppeConteIT, a really great guy. He will be honored in Washington, at the @WhiteHouse, shortly. He will do a great job – the people of Italy got it right!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
A month ago, he was a little-known law professor. On Saturday, Giuseppe Conte was heading home to Italy as a fully-fledged member of the most exclusive club of world leaders.
And he may just have found a new ally in Donald Trump.
While Europe’s leaders have often allowed Germany and France to coordinate a common stance at international gatherings, Conte raised eyebrows at the start of the summit by siding with Trump on the issue of Russia’s readmission to their club.
Conte turned to Trump’s favorite medium, Twitter, to make his point, in a sign that he is another world leader willing to use social media to bypass journalists.
— GiuseppeConte (@GiuseppeConteIT) June 8, 2018
He later appeared to fall into line with Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron by agreeing it was in fact still too early for Moscow to be brought back into the fold, four years after it was expelled for annexing Crimea.
But Italy’s left-wing Repubblica newspaper pointed out how Conte, watching the evening’s entertainment alongside Trump, might otherwise have found himself isolated in Canada.
In comments published on his Facebook page Saturday, Conte again echoed Trump by saying it was in no one’s interests for Russia to be kept out in the cold and that the G7 would have to become the G8 once more “sooner or later.”
The Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.