'Let them call you racists,' Bannon tells far-right French party

Posted March 11, 2018

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, a champion of Donald Trump's "America First" agenda, will address the National Front's party congress on Saturday, a senior official of the French anti-immigrant party said.

"Let them call you racist".

Le Pen defended inviting Bannon to the event. "I think President Trump has been pretty straightforward in saying, hey, when we first started, some of these advisers are what he would call globalists", said Bannon.

Le Pen is seeking to make over her struggling party after her failed presidential bid past year.

Bannon was booted from the White House last year amid tensions and stepped down as chairman of the Breitbart News Network in January after being dubbed “Sloppy Steve” by the President for providing information to the author of a controversial White Ho
Bannon to French far-right party: 'Let them call you racists'

Bannon's visit to France is the third stop on his European tour.

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's former strategist and architect of the US president's nationalist campaign platform, is expected to attend a meeting of France's far-right National Front party.

Bruno Cautrès, of the centre for political research at Sciences Po, said the party was undergoing a "crisis of Marine Le Pen's leadership".

Despite being ousted from his White House post a year ago and feuding with Trump in recent months, Bannon praised the president's "economic nationalism" that he said "does not care about your race, your religion, your ethnicity".

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Steve Bannon gives a press conference during the French far-right Front National (FN) party annual congress, March 10, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Lille, France.

Le Pen past year made it to the run-off in the French presidential election which she then lost to Emmanuel Macron, whose policies she said were "putting down the middle and lower classes".

The new moniker, if approved by members during a mail-in vote, will mark the ultimate break with Le Pen's father, who has called the idea a betrayal. A new leadership structure and new bylaws are also being unveiled at the two-day congress.

Len Pen wants to change the name of the National Front, the party co-founded by her father in 1972. The younger Le Pen has said the proposed name change is needed to show that the party had become "adult", The Guardian reported. "She's one of the most impressive people in the entire world", Bannon told reporters without mentioning his host Marine Le Pen.

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On some level, the speech presented another development in the transatlantic relationship between far-right movements in the United States and Europe, particularly in France. Le Pen's niece, former lawmaker and rising far-right star Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who attracted traditional Catholics and other social conservatives, dropped out of politics, at least temporarily.

A recent opinion poll by Kantar Sofres confirmed the diagnosis: 55 per cent of respondents said they did not wish Le Pen to be the FN candidate at the next presidential election, and less than one in five believed she inspired confidence.

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