For Salvini U.S. Trip Is Dream Come True… If He Sees Trump

(Photo by Instagram)

Deputy premier heads for Washington after months of lobbying.

Italy’s Matteo Salvini is off on his first official trip to the U.S., but the populist leader still doesn’t know if he’ll get the prize he wants most: an audience with Donald Trump, the man he cites as his political inspiration.

The deputy premier, the dominant force in his country’s quarrelsome ruling coalition, will sit down Monday in Washington with both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. Salvini’s official schedule does not include a meeting with President Trump.

Still, a White House visit with Pence could yield some face time with the president, according to three officials who asked not to be named discussing confidential plans.

That could take the form of a “spontaneous’’ encounter, one of the officials said, although Trump usually only meets with heads of state or leaders of governments.