Steve Bannon: Wear label of 'racist' as a 'badge of honor'

Turkey court orders release of two more journalists in newspaper trial

Steve Bannon told members of the French National Front, a far right wing political party that has been labeled neo-fascist, they should wear their racism as a badge of honor.

"Let them call you racist", he told the crowd. The move is created to skirt a court's ruling that the title allowed Jean-Marie Le Pen access to high-level party events - even if he was legally removed from membership rolls.

He said that Bannon understood like Trump, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen that people want to control their own destiny.

In the presidential election, it appeared this strategy paid off, as Le Pen gained more than 10 million votes (33.9 per cent) in the final round, despite her weird and catastrophic performance in a debate with Macron, which cost her support.

Last week, Bannon appeared in Rome to observe the elections and advocated for an alliance between the anti-immigrant League party and the populist Five Star Movement in Italy.

Bannon was among Trump's closest aides during the 2016 election campaign, the presidential transition and his first months in office.

Steve Bannon delivers a speech during the French far-right Front National (FN) party annual congress, March 10, 2018 in Lille, France.

Bannon was himself a high-profile departure from the White House last August and was written off by Trump earlier this year, who named him "sloppy Steve", following the publication in January of incendiary comments attributed to him. Le Pen and her allies are also expected to announce a new name for the party that they hope will appeal to more voters in the future.

The National Front was co-founded in 1972 by her father, the convicted Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who continues to refer to Nazi gas chambers as a "detail" in the history of World War II.

Likewise, Le Pen was a prominent contender for the French presidency in May 2017, but she lost to Emmanuel Macron in a landslide vote.

"The National Front has become adult. its nature has changed".

An election next year for members of the European Union's lawmaking arm will be the National Front's first chance to test whether its rebranding strategy leads to a comeback.

The speech will be the second in Europe for Mr Bannon who recently spoke to a sold-out arena in Zurich, Switzerland where he spoke on the subject of on populism of the left and the right.

He called the Italy vote "an earthquake" that has boosted far-right movements across Europe. It won more seats in the European Parliament than any other French party in 2014.

The weekend congress is expected to erase one persistent problem for Le Pen - her unpredictable, bombastic father - by eliminating his title of honorary president-for-life from party statutes.



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