Comparisons with Trump 'obvious' to Berlusconi

Rome (AFP) –


Former Italy prime minister Silvio Berlusconi welcomed comparisons made between himself and US president-elect Donald Trump, in an interview published on Saturday.

While Italian comedians have jumped at the chance to mock the similarities between the two gaffe-prone, orange-skinned, questionably-coiffed businessmen-turned-politicians, Berlusconi himself pointed to other common traits they share.

"There are some obvious similarities, even though my story as an entrepreneur is very different to Trump's, who I've never met," Berlusconi, who was known as a media mogul and president of AC Milan football club before entering politics in 1994, told Corriere della Sera.

He could also have mentioned that the tax affairs of both men -- dubbed Trumposconi by Italian comedians -- have come under scrutiny.

Berlusconi came to power on the back of voter discontent with the established order as the 'Mani Pulite' (clean hands) corruption affair of the early 1990s implicated many leading politicians from the country's five governing parties.

The Italian, who turned 80 earlier this year, said that likewise Trump "was elected by all Americans weary of an old political order" that is "insular" and has become "unable to listen or understand".

That order had made a "mistake typical of all the left (-wing parties) around the world" in "thinking that being 'politically correct' is the way to become close to the people, without understanding that the true weak are the citizens overwhelmed by the state, taxes, bureaucracy, uncontrolled immigration, unemployment, the terrorist danger".

He added: "That's the same in America as it is in Italy and in Europe."

While Italy's centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi publically declared his support for Democrat Hillary Clinton prior to the US election, Berlusconi, who claims to be a "liberal and popular centrist", has refused to comment on his preference either before or since Republican Trump won the race to succeed Barack Obama.

"Americans have chosen Donald Trump, now let him go to work... Presidents are judged on what they do," said Berlusconi, who served as prime minister in four governments.