Former Italian prime minister names Melania as what he likes most about President Trump

ROME, June 23 (Reuters) - Four-time former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who portrays himself as a charming ladies' man, said on Friday that what he likes most about U.S. President Donald Trump is his wife, Melania.

Berlusconi, 80, has returned to the political spotlight this week as he campaigns for his Forza Italia party ahead of municipal election run-offs on Sunday, which he hopes will revive his political fortunes.

Appearing on a mid-day talk show on private broadcaster La7, Berlusconi was asked whether he was flattered to be compared to Trump, who also started out as a real estate mogul and became a controversial political leader.

"It doesn't make me feel one way or another," said the billionaire Berlusconi, adding quickly, "But regarding Trump, I can say, like many men and women, I like Melania. For her beauty, for her style and also her charm."

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Melania Trump visits with sick children abroad
US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital, on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, on May 25, 2017, in Brussels. US President Donald Trump meets NATO and EU leaders for the first time with the US president set to press nervous allies to do more on terrorism after the Manchester bombing. / AFP PHOTO / Aurore Belot (Photo credit should read AURORE BELOT/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Queen Fabiola Children's University hospital in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
Brussels, may 25, 2017 NATO Summitt: US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Children's Hospital Queen Fabiola pict. by POOL � Photo News via Getty images
Brussels, may 25, 2017 NATO Summitt: US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Children's Hospital Queen Fabiola pict. by POOL � Photo News via Getty images
Brussels, may 25, 2017 NATO Summitt: US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Children's Hospital Queen Fabiola pict. by POOL � Photo News via Getty images
US First Lady Melania Trump (C) visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital, on the sidelines of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, on May 25, 2017 in Brussels. US President Donald Trump meets NATO and EU leaders for the first time with the US president set to press nervous allies to do more on terrorism after the Manchester bombing. / AFP PHOTO / BELGA / LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / Belgium OUT (Photo credit should read LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Queen Fabiola Children's University hospital in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
A girl takes a selfie with U.S. first lady Melania Trump at the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
A girl takes a selfie with U.S. first lady Melania Trump at the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
ROME, ITALY - MAY 24: US First Lady Melania Trump Visits the Paediatric Hospital Bambin Ges� on May 24, 2017 Rome, Italy. (Photo by Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MAY 24: US First Lady Melania Trump Visits the Paediatric Hospital Bambin Ges� on May 24, 2017 Rome, Italy. (Photo by Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump sits with Sara, (C) wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, talk to children during a visit to the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Sebastian Scheiner/Pool
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Berlusconi said he had never met her, but had seen her on television and had "heard many favorable opinions. Even the Democrats in America do not criticize her."

While the center-right leader was ejected from parliament after being convicted of tax fraud four years ago, he has remained the undisputed leader of his party, the country's third or fourth most popular, depending on the poll.

The flamboyant former prime minister has a history of making politically incorrect comments, many of which seemed to fuel his popularity.

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Last month he praised newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron as a "nice lad with a good-looking mother" -- widely taken to be a reference to the 39-year-old French leader's 64-year-old wife, Brigitte Trogneux.

He also raised eyebrows in 2008 for calling U.S. President Barrack Obama "suntanned." A year later he repeated the quip when talking about the First Lady, Michelle. "They went together to the beach to get a tan because even his wife is suntanned."

During his last stint in office, Berlusconi was embroiled in a sex scandal involving a teenage nightclub dancer, Karima El Mahroug, who went by the name "Ruby the Heartstealer" and attended "bunga bunga" parties at his mansion near Milan.

He was acquitted of any wrongdoing in that case in 2014. (Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

RELATED: Melania Trump visits Pope Francis at Vatican

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Melania Trump visits Pope Francis at Vatican
Pope Francis talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandra Tarantino/pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: US First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the Apostolic Palace for an audience with Pope Francis on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. The president will return to Italy on Friday, attending the Group of 7 summit in Sicily. Trump will also visit American troops stationed in at a US air base in Sicily. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania meet Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania are greeted by Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania meet Pope Francis during a meeting at the Vatican, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/Pool
US First Lady Melania Trump shakes hands with officials as she arrives at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / Vincenzo PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (R) walks along with US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump during a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Evan Vucci (Photo credit should read EVAN VUCCI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis (C) walks past US First Lady Melania Trump (R) and the daughter of US President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump (L) at the end of a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. US President Donald Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican today in a keenly-anticipated first face-to-face encounter between two world leaders who have clashed repeatedly on several issues. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Alessandra Tarantino (Photo credit should read ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24 : U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and his wife Melania (L) are welcomed by Monsignor Georg Gaenswein as they arrive at the Vatican for their audience with Pope Francis, on May 24, 2017. (Photo by Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MAY 24: US First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the Apostolic Palace for an audience with Pope Francis on May 24, 2017 in Vatican City, Vatican. The president will return to Italy on Friday, attending the Group of 7 summit in Sicily. Trump will also visit American troops stationed in at a US air base in Sicily. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
A girl takes a selfie with U.S. first lady Melania Trump at the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, Italy, May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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