Addressing parliament, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attacked his nominal deputy's entire way of working.
Salvini, sitting alongside Conte, raised his shoulders as if to say he didn't care. He then went to join the rest of his party in newfound opposition.
The coalition government of Salvini's far-right League party and the Five Star Movement fell apart. Fifteen months of populist experiment was at an end.
It was a stunning turnaround. Salvini had provoked the fall of his own coalition. He wanted to cash in his opinion poll lead in order to win outright power in a snap election. But his gamble had a fatal flaw; he did not count on the possibility of his opponents teaming up to stop him.
Five Star got together with the centre-left Democratic Party and Salvini may now have to wait in opposition until the next scheduled general election in 2023.
No longer Italy's most powerful politician, he now spends his time holding rallies and criticising his former coalition partners - including Five Star leader Luigi Di Maio, who he has said "did not turn out to be a serious person".
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