Italy's Prime Minister: "Good luck to Donald Trump"

Matteo Renzi tells 60 Minutes why he hopes the president-elect can be "another Ronald Reagan"

CBS All Access
This video is available on CBS All Access

Although Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says he is more politically aligned with the policies of President Obama than his successor, he still has hope for President-elect Trump.

When correspondent Charlie Rose interviewed him for this week’s 60 Minutes, he told Rose that he hopes Trump can be another Ronald Reagan. 

Renzi notes that although Reagan was governor, he wasn’t a traditional politician. He was an outsider — like Trump.

“I respect the decision of Donald Trump,” Renzi tells Rose in the clip above. “I think he could be a leader, outsider, and who change[s] [the] United States of America.

“Good luck to Donald Trump,” Renzi tells Rose.

The Prime Minister also relayed his wishes to President-elect Trump himself with a phone call the day after the election. Although he supported Hillary Clinton during the election, Renzi says the topic didn’t come up.

“We don’t discuss about it,” he tells Rose on 60 Minutes. “It’s the great play of democracy.”

Renzi's great political gamble

Renzi himself is currently at the center of another great play of democracy. He initiated a referendum to drastically change Italy’s constitution by slashing the number of senators in parliament. A yes vote would reduce the Senate from 350 elected senators to 100 members who would be appointed. Italians are set to vote on the referendum on December 4th.

In the 60 Minutes excerpt above, Renzi discusses the vote with Charlie Rose in a spirited exchange, pointing to his country’s 63 government changes in the last 70 years.

“This referendum is not a referendum to change democracy in Italy,” he says. “It’s a referendum to reduce bureaucracy in Italy. Italy is the worst country for bureaucracy around the world.”

But Renzi has made the referendum about more than just reducing the number of senators. Early on, he threatened to quit if the “no” vote prevailed, making the vote about Renzi himself.

“He’s exactly what you see in the piece,” Rose says of the prime minister. “He’s engaged, energized. He’s optimistic. He’s intelligent. And he’s taking a big risk by allowing himself to be the referendum.”