FACT CHECK: Meme Allegedly Shows An Italian Interpreter Reacting To Trump Saying The US And Italy ‘Have Been Allies Since Ancient Rome’

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Italian President Sergio Mattarella’s interpreter reacting to President Donald Trump saying the U.S. and Italy “have been allies since Ancient Rome.”

“The look of the White House Italian translator as Trump says U.S. and Italy have been allies since Ancient Rome,” reads the caption.

Verdict: False

Trump did make a comment about Ancient Rome in an appearance with Mattarella, but he never said that the U.S.-Italy alliance dates back to that time period. Mattarella’s interpreter was not visibly present when Trump made his remark about Ancient Rome.

Fact Check:

Trump met with the Italian president to discuss trade and several other topics on Oct. 16. They spoke to the press at three public events – before their bilateral meeting, during a joint press conference and at a reception.

Mattarella’s interpreter, some noted, appeared to react on camera to a few of Trump’s statements. This Facebook post alleges that the interpreter, identified as Elisabetta Savigni-Ullmann in media reports, visibly reacted to Trump saying the U.S. and Italy “have been allies since Ancient Rome.”

Contrary to what the Facebook post claims, Trump never said the U.S.-Italy alliance dates back to that time period. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Trump’s Parents Wearing KKK Robes)

A search of transcripts from all three events show that Trump only said the words “Ancient Rome” one time, and that instance occurred during his joint press conference with Mattarella.

“The United States and Italy are bound together by a shared cultural and political heritage dating back thousands of years to Ancient Rome,” Trump actually said. “Over the centuries, the Italian people have blessed our civilization with magnificent works of art, science, philosophy, architecture, and music.”

Further adding to the post’s dubiousness, video shows no interpreter visibly present behind the two presidents during the joint press conference. Mattarella presumably received translations of Trump’s statements through the headphones he was wearing at the time.

Savigni-Ullmann could only be seen sitting behind the two presidents in footage of their remarks before their bilateral meeting. The screenshots of her supposed reactions appear to come from broadcasts of that brief meeting with the press before their closed-door talks.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].


FACT CHECK: Did Russia Evacuate Crimea?
FACT CHECK: Viral Post Falsely Claims To Show Joe Biden 'Making Out' With A 15-Year-Old Girl
FACT CHECK: Did Winston Churchill Say, 'Success Is Not Final; Failure Is Not Fatal: It Is The Courage To Continue That Counts'?
FACT CHECK: Can Companies Use Customer Charity Donations For Tax Deductions?