By comparing himself to Jesus in 2006 during a party rally, Berlusconi earned criticism from politicians across parties in his native (and highly Catholic) country. Officials at the Vatican chastised Berlusconi, saying such things shouldn’t be taken in jest.
Benito Mussolini was the leader of the National Fascist Party and, in 1925, established a dictatorship in Italy. In 1935 he ordered the brutal occupation of Ethiopia, which is considered as one of the precursors to WWII, and his union with Nazi Germany saw Italian Jews persecuted and sent to Hitler’s concentration camps.
In 2011, when facing allegations of underage sex with a prostitute and abusing his office in the following cover up, Berlusconi joked that a survey revealed his incredible popularity with women.
As newspapers investigated scandals about high-class escorts and sex tapes, Berlusconi attempted to play down the story by saying he’s no saint – though he didn’t admit to any sins either.
Though he has been known to describe himself as a liberal, the octogenarian politician has made a number of anti-gay comments and in 2018 announced his party, Forza Italia, wanted to challenge the law on same-sex civil unions.
Talking about his legal problems, Berlusconi followed this audacious quote by complaining he had spent millions on “judges”, before correcting himself and clarifying he meant to say “lawyers”.
Berlusconi told survivors of the 2009 Aquila earthquake that they should consider sleeping in emergency tents like a ‘weekend of camping’. Over 300 people died in the disaster and 65,000 were made homeless.
After repeating a line he’d used previously, about the skin colour of the 44th President of the United States, Berlusconi this time doubled down and followed with “You won’t believe it, but two of them went to the beach, because the wife is also tanned.”
After the September 11 attacks, Berlusconi caused an outcry by declaring Western civilization as superior to the Islamic world. His comments were disparaged as racist, dangerous and as having “crossed the limits of reason and decency.”
Speaking about the sexual harassment debate raised after the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Berlusconi said women should be happy if men hit on them. He then clarified that he wasn’t an expert as he rarely had to woo women, who always chase him.
When asked about his propensity for making blunderous comments and incendiary remarks, this was Berlusconi’s reply.