Is Trump America’s Berlusconi?

The former Italian PM and Media Tycoon and the US President-elect share a controversial personality, business empire and a history of scandals

You’ve probably heard of the many excesses of the former Prime Minister of Italy and media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi. 

Berlusconi (80) is probably the most prominent Italian politician of the last two decades. He served as a Prime Minister for nine years in total. Berlusconi’s first term as Prime Minister started in 1994. His two subsequent terms lasted from 2001 to 2006, and from 2008 to 2011.

To those who aren’t well acquainted with modern Italian politics, Berlusconi is best known for his numerous scandals. In fact, Berlusconi has been involved in so many controversies over the years, that it’s really hard to keep track of them all.

Berlusconi is also famous for his sex scandals and he actually stood trial and was found guilty of paying for sex with two underage prostitutes.

The parallels between Berlusconi and President-elect Trump are strikingly obvious. Business magnate? Check. Brash, insulting and controversial statements? Check. Sex scandals? Check.

A History of Controversies

Like Trump, Berlusconi has a long track of giving controversial statements and using blunt and combative language. Perhaps another vivid parallel with Trump, Berlusconi has been described as a raging narcissist.

In some of his statements, Berlusconi used to talk of himself as,

The best political leader in Europe and in the world.

And he also made it clear that he has a high opinion of his tenure as Prime Minister:

There is no-one on the world stage who can compete with me.

When asked about one of his sex scandals, Berlusconi replied:

When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said, ‘Yes’, while the other 70% replied, ‘What, again?’

Speaking about then-newly elected US President, Barack Obama, Berlusconi joked:

What’s his name? Some tanned guy. Ah, Barack Obama.

You won’t believe it, but two of them went to the beach, because the wife is also tanned.

We’ve all heard and read similarly controversial statements from Trump. Now, the question arises, is Trump America’s Berlusconi?

To put it mildly, it seems that Trump will be an unorthodox president. Trump and Berlusconi share a very distinct approach to politics, as well as business. While in office, Berlusconi has successfully navigated through often stormy Italian politics, and managed to avoid the consequences of his sex scandals.

However, the Italian billionaire businessman and three-times Prime Minister has been involved in protracted legal battles and was convicted of tax fraud in 2012. Ultimately, Berlusconi was banned from holding public office for five years, but his sentence was subsequently commuted for community service.

Karima El Mahroug, known by the stage name of 'Ruby' a Moroccan prostitute (pictured left), became famous after an affair with Berlusconi.
Karima El Mahroug, known by the stage name of ‘Ruby’ a Moroccan prostitute (pictured left), became famous after an affair with Berlusconi.

A Hard Time for Trump

Without doubt, Trump will carry many of his scandals into the Oval Office. Together with the lack of political experience and many global challenges that his administration will face, Trump will also have to deal with controversies surrounding his tax returns, and allegations of sexual misconduct.

Knowing Trump’s personality and his handling of business and politics, it is quite probable that he will remain as defiant as ever.

This, however, should not make us doubt in his skill to survive, which he demonstrated on more than one occasion.