President Joe Biden on Friday met with Italy’s President and Prime Minister in Rome on the first day of his second major foreign trip since taking office.
Biden first held a bilateral meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at Quirinale Palace, and then met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at Chigi Palace, which is also in Rome.
In addition to th USe President, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, charge d’Affaires a.i. of the US Embassy of Rome Thomas Smitham and special assistant to the President and senior director for Europe at the National Security Council Dr. Amanda Sloat attended both meetings.
Both meetings came after he and the first lady had an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
The Bidens touched down in Rome on Friday morning local time after departing Washington on Thursday. Biden will attend the G20 Summit this weekend and is slated to hold a series of key meetings with world leaders in Rome. He will then travel to Glasgow on Monday to attend COP26, a UN climate summit.
Later on Friday, ahead of the G20, Biden is set to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron for their first in-person meeting following last month’s major diplomatic dust-up over an agreement for the US and United Kingdom to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The two leaders are also expected to be in the same room for other meetings during the summits.
The major foreign trip comes as Biden struggles to get a deal on his economic agenda at home. Biden made a big push on Thursday to get a deal agreed to in part so he could have climate commitments to tout at COP26, but is still short of a legislative victory.
Hours before his plane took off on Thursday, Biden unveiled a new framework for an economic package that focuses on combating the climate crisis, care for families, expanding access to health care, lowering costs for the middle class and tax reforms.
The President went to Capitol Hill to personally appeal to lawmakers and delivered remarks from the White House to try to get a deal agreed to on his $1.75 trillion proposal before he left for Rome. Despite the extraordinary push, the legislation still faces an uncertain fate in a Congress where Democrats hold the slimmest of majorities.
Earlier this year, Biden met with Draghi on the margins of the G7 Summit in Cornwall. The two leaders discussed combating the Covid-19 pandemic and other shared foreign policy priorities related to China, Russia and Libya, according to a White House readout of the meeting.
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