Argentine President-elect Javier Milei held a surprise lunch meeting with former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Monday during his brief visit to New York.
During the meeting, Milei and his team presented their government program to Clinton and former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who currently serves as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas.
President Joe Biden will not meet with Milei during the Argentine president-elect’s visit to the White House, expected Tuesday afternoon.
Milei is presently undergoing a short trip in the United States that started Monday with a visit to the burial site of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, before Milei and his team met with Clinton and Dodd in the afternoon.
Gerardo Werthein, the likely next Argentine Ambassador to Washington and part of the group dining with Milei and Clinton, explained to the Argentine newspaper La Nación that both the former U.S. president and former Sen. Dodd “asked him a lot of questions,” remarking that the Argentine president-elect “responded to all of them very clearly.”
“He [Milei] explained what his plan was and how he was going to do it and as a corollary of this meeting, which we can say was very good, he deserves to carry out a project for the benefit of all Argentines, but above all, those who have the least,” Werthein said.
According to Werthein, Milei sought to make clear in the meeting that his plan aims to guide Argentina out of its current economic crisis with definitive solutions. Argentina is currently facing an inflation rate of more than 140 percent, a poverty rate of 40 percent, a crumbling national currency, and a debt of more than $40 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“In the United States there is a great work, a great collaboration to help Argentina to move forward,” Werthein said. “I was impressed by the quality with which Milei was able to explain each of the questions he was asked. He has a very clear vision of what needs to be done.”
In addition to solving Argentina’s severe economic issues, Milei, a libertarian economist, repeatedly stated throughout his presidential campaign that he would also see Argentina “realign” its foreign policy towards the United States and Israel after nearly 20 years of leftist rule pushed the South American nation towards China, Iran, Russia, and other rogue nations.
Argentine journalist Jonatan Viale reported on Monday evening that, according to sources from Milei’s office of the chief of staff, former President Clinton had “agreed” with Milei’s proposal to shut down the Argentine Central Bank, one of the president-elect’s most oft-repeated campaign promises intended to curb rampant inflation. Milei has also promised to replace the crumbling Argentine peso with the U.S. dollar.
Clinton allegedly also expressed to Milei that the United States is a “friend of Argentina” and that there is “more than a 50 percent chance” that Argentina’s recovery will be rapid, assuring that “Argentina has many friends that will join if they do the right things.”
The former U.S. president also allegedly expressed he was “glad to see the end of the lost 20 years that should not have been lost,” referencing the nearly 20 continued years of leftist Kirchnerist presidents who ruled over Argentina since 2003. The Kirchnerist-Peronist movement is a left-wing, socialist movement in line with Clinton’s Democrat Party.
Joni Viale (@JonatanViale) tiró UNA BOMBA ATÓMICA ABSOLUTA sobre la reunión de Milei con Bill Clinton en Estados Unidos:— Agarra la Pala (@agarra_pala) November 27, 2023
"Clinton le dijo que coincide con CERRAR EL BANCO CENTRAL" 💣🔥@JMilei #LaLibertadAvanza pic.twitter.com/dUeoKyczFz
Although Milei is scheduled to visit the White House on Tuesday, he will not be received by President Joe Biden. Instead, the Argentine president-elect will hold a meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan while Milei’s economic entourage will hold meetings with U.S. Treasury officials and representatives of the International Monetary Fund to discuss Milei’s economic priorities for the ailing South American nation.
Milei fiercely criticized Biden throughout his presidential campaign. Most notably, he denounced Biden as a “left-wing president” and a “threat to Western values” during an interview with Colombia’s RCN radio in August in which he described socialists as “garbage” and leftist values as “envy, hatred, resentment, unequal treatment before the law, theft and murder.”
“Biden is a left-wing president,” Milei said at the time. “So it is not surprising that he is also putting the world’s leading power in check. Biden himself is a threat to Western values.”
Milei’s two-day trip to the U.S. is the first for Milei since his victory in the November 19 runoff election, where he defeated outgoing socialist Economy Minister Sergio Massa by a 12-point margin.
Milei will return to Argentina on Tuesday and reportedly work on building his government. Milei is slated to be formally proclaimed as president of Argentina by the Argentine legislature this week and will take office on December 10 at the end of outgoing socialist President Alberto Fernández’s four-year term.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.