President Biden on Wednesday used the election of a far-right leader in Italy to warn against Democrats being too complacent in the upcoming elections.
“You just saw what’s happened in Italy in that election. You’re seeing what’s happening around the world. And the reason I bother to say that is we can’t be sanguine about what’s happening here either. I don’t want to exaggerate it, but I don’t want to understate it,” Biden said at a Democratic Governors Association fundraiser on Tuesday.
Italy’s far-right party swept to victory in elections this week and is expected to form the country’s most conservative government since World War II. The incoming prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is a far-right firebrand and has stoked fears among other Western nations of an ultraconservative Italian government under her rule.
Biden did not mention Meloni by name on Tuesday but said that the Brothers of Italy party victory highlights why he is committed to electing Democratic governors.
“It’s the reason why I’m so concerned about and so interested in and so committed to seeing that the governors – Democratic governors are elected. Because, literally, the outcome of an election is going to be determined by how well the governors run their states, who’s in charge at the time…how we count the votes, whether or not it’s transparent, and a whole range of things,” he said.
The White House earlier this week highlighted the multi-country organizations Italy is a part of when asked about the U.S.-Italian relationship under Meloni.
“It’s a NATO Ally, as you know; a G7 partner; and member of the EU. So, we will work with the new Italian government on the full range of shared global challenges, including supporting Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia’s aggression,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Meloni’s rise was celebrated this week by some Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.).