Matteo Salvini on His Role as Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is the driving force behind one of the most controversial far-right movements in Europe. He joins the program before his official trip to the White House.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So, I want to ask you, you’re on your way to the United States, you’re a big fan of President Trump, and in fact, your own slogan is, Italy First. What do you hope to get from this visit? What are you going to discuss with the vice president and the secretary of state?

MATTEO SALVINI, DEPUTY ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Well, first of all, of the documents that have been dealing with as a Ministry of the Interior, so fighting terrorism, fighting illegal migration, the political situation in Libya, in Iran, in Venezuela, and any partnerships, whether they are economic or not, between Italy and the U.S.

AMANPOUR: So, I want to focus a little bit on the immigration policy because that’s something that you’re very keen on and you talk about it a lot and it’s the basis of The League, your party. You have once said that you could fix and cure Italy with President Trump cure. What do you mean by that, exactly?

SALVINI (through translator): Well, we’re following closely both the approach against illegal migration, as far as the U.S. and Mexico are concerned, but also the more domestic policies that the Trump administration’s implementing. In terms of migration, we manage to reduce arrivals by 90 percent with half the casualties, with half the amount of migrants in Italy. And as a result, crimes have fallen by 10 percent. These are data from 2019. We managed to keep track of our borders, something the previous governments were not able to do.

AMANPOUR: You know, the whole idea of curbing migration is obviously pretty controversial, both in Italy and in the United States. I wonder what you think of the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance program where it was separating children from parents at the border, the southern border, and do you admire that policy? Is it something that you would consider for Italy? Where do you stand on that?

SALVINI (through translator): Well, first of all, these are completely different realities, different numbers, different people and different problems. We try as much as possible not to divide families, children by law cannot be sent away from the country. That said, in the last few years, we have had approximately 700,000 migrants coming by sea. As of last year, we managed to stop them by 223,000. This year, we managed to whittle it down to 2,000. Many [13:05:00] children and mothers come by plane. That said, I cannot teach President Trump how to deal with things. I am happy with the way we are dealing with our migration crisis in Italy.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini before his official trip to the White House. Sienna Miller joins the program to discuss her new film “American Woman.” Walter Isaacson speaks with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to discuss her most recent book “Leadership in Turbulent Times.”