Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni met with President Biden this week, calling for an end to illegal immigrants amid criticism from her voters that she has strayed from the more hardline stances she supported during her campaign.

“I was just at the White House … and I was reading the comments that were below [my reporting],” Stefano Vaccara, founder of La Voce di New York and U.S. political correspondent for ITALPRESS, told Fox News Digital. “A lot of people were her voters, who were supporting, that were writing ‘I will not vote for her anymore,’” which he said was “because she gets along with Biden.” 

“So you’ve been in a position in the far right party… then you are the Prime Minister of a NATO country and go to the Oval Office … you couldn’t talk anymore like you were talking,” he argued. “She changed completely, so now … I would say if somebody woke up today and just listen to her speech and the way she talks, [they would] think that she is center, center-left.”

Meloni, Italy’s first female prime minister, met with Biden Friday, where they discussed a number of foreign policy issues, including Ukraine, Gaza and migration. Vaccara painted a picture of Meloni as a staunch anti-globalist when on the campaign trail, but once her Brothers of Italy Party, a national-conservative and right-wing populist party, won the election, she assumed a more globalist stance on most issues. 

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“There is a very famous phrase that she said when she was campaigning: I am Giorgia. I am a mother. I am a Catholic, and I am a patriot,” Vaccara said. “That was like a sign of her being very conservative.” 

“In foreign policy, when she was in the opposition, she was really anti-European, she was saying, ‘He’s big [on] bureaucracy, when I am in the government I will see what I will do’ – you know, all these things,” he explained.

But after taking power, “she didn’t do anything that she was saying when she was complaining, because she became a very, very stable partner of Europe and also of the United States,” Vaccara said.

German outlet DW questioned how “radical” Meloni has proven to be after taking power in Rome, noting that she has not repeated any of the “more radical slogans she was so fond of while campaigning.” 

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DW acknowledged that Meloni has tried to shape domestic policies around “strict conservative family ideals,” but her economic policy has “more or less carried on” with what her predecessor enacted, and her European policy has proven “almost moderate.” 

During their meeting, Meloni and Biden reaffirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, and Biden commended Meloni’s leadership in the G7, which started in January, and the European Union to bolster support for Ukraine. 

Most strikingly, Meloni said she would support the U.S. role to mediate in the Gaza crisis, reaffirmed a commitment to Israel’s right to self-defense “consistent with international law” and “underscored the urgent need to increase deliveries of life-saving humanitarian aid assistance throughout Gaza,” according to a readout from the White House. 

Meloni has also continued keeping the high level of migrants on Italy’s borders in the media, repeatedly promising to clamp down on unauthorized arrivals from North Africa with harsher immigration laws, restrictions on sea rescue charities and plans to build migrant reception camps in Albania.

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The prime minister last year announced that Italy would deport any foreigners living legally in Italy if they are deemed a threat to public order or national security and any immigrants who lied about their age to benefit from a “protection scheme” reserved for unaccompanied minors. 

At the end of the year, though, Meloni told reporters at a conference that a deal on the E.U.’s Migration and Asylum Pact partially improved the situation for Italy and other asylum countries, but does not represent a solution to the ever-increasing migrant arrivals. 

“What needs to be done in Africa is not charity,” she said. “What needs to be done in Africa is to build cooperation and serious strategic relationships as equals, not predators.”

Meloni also stressed the need “to defend the right not to have to emigrate … and this is done with investments and a strategy.” 

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Italy outlined its proposed strategy in Africa in the so-called Mattei Plan — named after Enrico Mattei, founder of state-controlled oil and gas giant Eni — which seeks to tackle education and training, agriculture, health, water and energy development. 

The aim is to make Italy an energy hub to transport natural gas supplies from Africa to the rest of Europe, with Italian energy major Eni set to play a key role in the initiative.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.