Italian journalist give US’s Pompeo cheese in protest
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a four-day visit to Italy and held talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shortly after flying into Rome.
Farmers staged a small demonstration outside Mattarella’s residence as Pompeo arrived for his meeting. "Don’t kill Italian food," read one placard. "Mr. Pompeo we are friends," said another.
"TAKE THIS TO MR. TRUMP"
When he later met Conte, a journalist from a satirical television show walked up to him and handed him a piece of parmesan cheese. "This is something ... made from the heart... so we hope you can help us in taking it to ... Mr. Trump, please," she said.
A smiling Pompeo took the cheese as Conte ordered security guards to remove her. "She is not welcome anymore. Please escort her out. Show respect when you are a guest in someone else’s house," he said.
Some Italian products, including parmesan and olive oil, are in the firing line. Italian farmers say this is unfair because Italy is not part of the Airbus consortium. The proposed levies could devastate a vital export market, according to farmers.
The Italian farmers’ association Coldiretti estimates that sales of foodstuffs to the United States are worth some 4.5 billion euros a year.