Trump former strategist Steve Bannon addresses France's far-right party congress
11 March, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Darrell Lopez
The populist 5-Star Movement and the anti-immigration League both outdid traditional parties.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen will meet Bannon at her party's convention in the French city of Lille on Saturday, her partner Louis Aliotsaid in a tweet.
"History is on our side", Bannon said to hearty cheers.
The one-time White House strategist, who is often credited with helping Donald Trump win the presidency in 2016, told the group, "The tide of history is with us, and it will compel us to victory after victory after victory", The Washington Post reported.
His speech contained a familiar litany of attacks against global elites, Hillary Clinton and journalists.
Marine Le Pen, France's far-right National Front (FN) political party leader, speaks during a rally in Laon, France, February 18, 2018.
Donald Trump's ex-chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has turned his gaze to European politics.
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 freaky and catastrophic performance in a debate with Macron, which cost her support. "I want Britain first for the British people, and I want France first for the French people".
The soap opera squabbles of the Le Pen dynasty have long kept French media in thrall.
The surprise address took place on the first day of the party congress in Lille, in northern France.
The high point of the weekend event will come Sunday when Le Pen will announce a proposed new name for the party, turning a page on the anti-Semitic, openly racist Front of her former paratrooper dad.
To that end, rebranding the National Front's image is the primary goal of the "party congress" in Lille this weekend.
Le Pen, who lost the presidential race to Emmanuel Macron last spring, said on March 9 that the FN, which was founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1971, had grown up and it was time to change the branding and the name of the party.
Since taking over in 2011 with her father's blessing, Le Pen has embarked on a process of "de-demonising" the FN, which has involved shrugging off its xenophobic, bully-boy image. Last week, he published the first volume of his memoirs, "Son of the Nation", which feature an empathic defense of Philippe Pétain, the leader of France's Vichy government, a body that willingly collaborated with Nazi Germany during the war.
"Let them call you racist". "Let them call you xenophobes". Let them call you nativist. "Wear it as a badge of honor", he told the crowd at the party congress.
"They don't understand that we defend the same ideas, in the education field for her and in politics for me", she said. Jean-Marie Le Pen also is to be scratched from the party's books along with his title of honorary president-for-life.
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