Quiet Clinton meeting raises questions

Argentina’s President-elect Javier Milei had a quiet lunch with Bill Clinton on Monday, prompting some to question why the libertarian leader would sit down with the former president who holds no position of power.

“The meal with the former U.S. leader, a Democrat largely on the opposite side of the ideological fence from Milei, marked an especially surprising part of the incoming Argentine president’s first foreign trip after winning a run-off vote earlier this month,” Reuters reported.

Former Sen. Chris Dodd, a Biden advisor on Latin America, was reportedly also on hand at the meeting.

Not on the schedule is a meeting with President Joe Biden.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday, “We’ll have to see how this all plays out. Unfortunately, the president will not be able to see him because he will be traveling within the country. But, obviously, we want to continue looking for ways to cooperate with Argentina.”

“Argentina is a vibrant partner on this continent on many issues,” he added. “We are eager to hear the president-elect’s ideas and see where he wants to go on economic policy issues, making sure we have the opportunity to keep that line of communication open.”

Milei is scheduled to meet with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday in Washington, while his economic advisers meet with senior U.S. finance officials to discuss the president-elect’s economic priorities, according to the news agency — the White House confirmed the planned meeting with President Biden’s top security aide.

More from Reuters:

Earlier on Monday, the self-described anarcho-capitalist Milei arrived in New Jersey with a small group of advisors, including former central banker Luis Caputo, the frontrunner to be his economy minister, and his campaign manager sister Karina Milei, his office said in a statement.

Upon arriving in the United States, Milei first visited the tomb of a well-known orthodox Jewish rabbi before having lunch with Clinton, according to a statement from the president-elect’s office.

 

Other planned meetings include a sit-down with officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to Milei’s office — Argentina is the IMF’s largest debtor nation.

The president-elect vowed on the campaign trail to dollarize Argentina — replace the Argentine peso with the U.S. dollar — and shutter its central bank as the nation faces a possible recession and inflation approaching 150%, while more than two-fifths of Argentina’s population is in poverty

Milei will officially take office on Dec. 10.

Reuters also cited a source close to Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign to report that “a previously announced visit to Buenos Aires from former U.S. President Donald Trump – seen by many as much closer to Milei ideologically – is unlikely to happen.”

Tom Tillison

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