Italy's Meloni reacts to NYT opinion piece blasting her right-wing policies: 'Respond with ... results'

Guest essayist David Broder criticized Meloni for alleged crackdowns on minorities, LGBTQ+ people, other policies

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she prefers to let her actions speak louder than words when asked how she responds to a New York Times opinion piece that blasted her policies, particularly what's happening in Italy overall.

"There is nothing I want to tell to those who criticize me. I think it is a right they have," she told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo in an exclusive interview. "The only way I like to respond is with results, so I react. I do what I think is right for my nation, for the interests of my nation, and I think that what is happening in Italy is the only thing that really can give an answer or not."

She cited Italy's economic success, her vow to Italian companies that "we [the government] will not disturb you" and her hope that she can make the people of her nation believe that they can do better without the state "creating problems" for them.


Giorgia Meloni Italian Prime Minister

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni releases statements to the press at the end of the meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on June 8, 2023, in Rome. (Simona Granati / Corbis via / Getty Images)

She said government should work with the people to allow the country to thrive.

"We want to create richness," she said. "You will have a state, you will have institutions able to work with you, near you. That doesn't mean that we don't have rules. We have it, and we are quite strict on it, but we want them to believe there is nothing the institutions can do if the people do not answer. So, we have to go all in the same direction. We have to do it together, and that was my first message."

Meloni, since taking power last year, has amassed criticism from more left-wing voices across the media, some of which openly compared her to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

In the New York Times guest essay, about which Bartiromo asked Meloni during the interview, author David Broder expressed concern that Meloni's Italy is taking too many steps in the wrong direction – calling out accusations that minorities are "undermining the triad of God, nation and family," adding that the implication has "dire practical consequences for migrants, nongovernmental organizations and same-sex parents."


Giorgia Meloni Biden meeting

President Biden meets Giorgia Meloni, Italy's prime minister, in the Oval Office on July 27, 2023. (Yuri Gripas / Abaca/Bloomberg via / Getty Images)

"Ahead of Italy’s election last fall, Giorgia Meloni was widely depicted as a menace. By this summer, everything — her youthful admiration for Benito Mussolini, her party’s links to neofascists, her often extreme rhetoric — had been forgiven," he wrote.

Among other grievances laid out in the essay, Broder mentioned "efforts to weaken anti-torture legislation, stack the public broadcaster with loyalists and rewrite Italy’s postwar constitution to increase executive power …"

"Ms. Meloni's government isn’t just nativist but has a harsh authoritarian streak, too," he said.

Among other concerns, he said, is that the ideology is spreading.

But not everyone agrees that Meloni's approach is alarming – at least concerning the economy. Weighing in after the segment, Fox News contributor Liz Peek praised the Italian prime minister for offering a different solution to economic problems in European nations. 


Kevin McCarthy and Giorgia Meloni

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speak to reporters after a meeting at the Capitol on July 27, 2023. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

"Italy is the third-largest economy in Europe. If she can show the EU that lower taxes, less regulation and inspiring people to work can cause growth in your economy, can begin to solve some of the problems that are endemic in European countries, bully for her," she said. "They are going to oppose it just like the New York Times is opposing it. They hate capitalism. It interferes with their creeping socialism in Europe, where politicians and bureaucrats take more and more power. I say bully for her and long live the republic."

Michael Lee, founder of Michael Lee Strategy, also sat down with Peek and FOX Business' Cheryl Casone, who sat in as guest host for "Mornings with Maria" on Monday.

"Italy's got real problems, and there are some advantages to the EU, but this is why I was in favor of Brexit," he said. "Like, once you have the ‘death harness,’ I call it, of the EU weighing down upon you and telling you how you can again run your country, it becomes very, very difficult. So, I wish Italy the best, but I'm skeptical."


While speaking with Bartiromo, Meloni touted Italy's accomplishments, including that its economy is growing more than others in Europe, higher job rates and workforce optimism.

"Things are going well," she said. "I think I see also in the Italian economy that people now believe that things can change, that things can get better, so they do more, and that's what, in my opinion, can make the difference."

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