Armando Varricchio, Italy’s ambassador to the United States, believes the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden will be an important date not only for this country but also for the world.
“We look forward to working with the government and January 20th will be a very important day not only for the US but also for the world,” said Varricchio in an interview with newsdos, Washington, Major Correspondent Garrett, for the episode of “The Take-Away Podcast.
Varricchio said President Trump “is a friend of Italy” and added that “we worked very effectively with him”. However, he stated that the US-Italy relationship goes beyond who is in office at any given time.
“Our alliance goes beyond the various administrations,” said Varricchio. “That is something very important.”
Highlights from this week’s episode:
- Varricchio on the upcoming inauguration: “We look forward to working with the government and January 20th will be a very important day not only for the US but also for the world.”
- Varricchio on the relationship between the US and Italy: “Our alliance goes beyond the various administrations … This is something very important.”
- Varricchio on populism in the US and Europe: “It has always been like that. A kind of pendulum between opening up to the world and trying to withdraw within the borders. And that applies to Europe, but also to the United States.”
- Varricchio on the coronavirus pandemic: “In a country that is blessed with this unique history and heritage, like Italy, we have gone through many difficult times. And this has in some ways shaped our resilience and personality.”
Varricchio said the high participation rate in the November elections had given the world a signal of the strength of democracy. Mr Biden received over 80 million votes, more than any other presidential candidate in history.
“The elections sent a very important message to the world. When people choose to participate, take responsibility and sometimes stand in line to cast a vote, a vote. This is the soul of democracy, it shows to all who Doubts could arise about the system that we value so much that this is the best possible answer, “said Varricchio.
Varricchio also noted that the incoming first lady Jill Biden is of Italian descent.
“The new first lady is Italian-American, so this is very important for my country,” said Varricchio.
He spoke briefly about the strain on populism represented by Mr Trump, which is also present in Europe, but said it was a pattern from history.
“It has always been like that. A kind of pendulum between opening up to the world and trying to withdraw within the borders. And that applies to Europe, but also to the United States,” said Varricchio.
Varricchio also spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his country. Italy was completely closed for several weeks in the spring and will do so again from December 24th to January 6th to help mitigate the spread during the holiday season. He said he was proud to see pictures of empty cities during the spring lockdown because it showed people were taking the virus seriously.
“I’ve seen pictures of the beautiful historic Italian cities, from Rome to Venice, Milan to Naples, completely silent and empty. It was something that had never been seen before,” said Varricchio. “We had to rediscover ourselves, our communities, our families in a way.”
He noted, however, that “in times of crisis, culture flourishes” and gave the example of Boccaccio who wrote the Decameron during the plague of the 14th century.
“In a country blessed with this unique history and heritage, like Italy, we have gone through many difficult times. And this has in some ways shaped our resilience and personality,” said Varricchio. “We had in our DNA the strength, the resilience to be aware that in difficult times we can stop and try to build and find a better future. I think this is the best lesson we have learned from this terrible experience can.”