Bannon Tells Le Pen's Party: 'Let Them Call You Racist'

Former White House strategist advises the French
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2018 9:40 AM CDT
Bannon to Nationalists: 'Let Them Call You Racist'
National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, right, and former White House strategist Steve Bannon hold a press conference at the party congress in the northern French city of Lille, Saturday, March 10, 2018.   (AP Photo)

Steve Bannon continued his European tour Saturday as a surprise speaker for the struggling National Front party in Paris, NBC News reports. The former White House strategist paced the stage for half an hour, bathing in applause and urging members to embrace some of their critics' worst epithets. "Let them call you racist," he says. "Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor." The ex-Breitbart chairman also slammed central governments and central banks and said that "history is on our side" in the battle against "globalists."

A last-minute addition, Bannon spiced up an otherwise "technical party convention" that restored Marine Le Pen to power following the party's hard loss in last year's elections, France24 reports. The congress also stripped her father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, of an honorary "president for life" position (he lost his official leadership role three years ago for making anti-Semitic remarks). As for Bannon, he just gave a talk in Zurich for a crowd of 1,500 and celebrated the victory of hard-right populists in Italy's national election last weekend, Politico and the New York Times report. "All I'm trying to be," says Bannon, "is the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement." (More Steve Bannon stories.)

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