Bannon to French far-right party: 'Let them call you racists'

Macron warns Trump all sides would lose in'trade war

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon told party members of France's far-right National Front on Saturday that history was on their side and would eventually lead them to victory.

"Let them call you racist".

In his address, Bannon praised Le Pen's vision of a political fight between nationalists and globalists, even as a few party members warned that his support could damage Le Pen's efforts to cleanse the National Front of its racist stigma.

Le Pen's performance in a pre-election debate with Macron was seen as one of the main reasons her party was defeated. She said it was important to hear the ideas of a man who was "the architect of Donald Trump's victory" and has written about globalization and giving to regular people "power, which in his mind and mine, too, has been practically illegally captured by the elite".

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.

The former Goldman Sachs investment banker, who was ousted from the White House past year and stepped down as chairman of Breitbart News Network in January, has visited Switzerland - he gave his first European speech in Zurich earlier in the week - and Italy, where voters last Sunday elected a parliament dominated by anti-immigrant populists.

Bannon, was once Trump's chief strategist, and championed his "America First" agenda during both the campaign and the president's first eight months in office. But the two had a bitter falling out and Bannon was sacked last August, though he continued to speak with the president and tried to promote his "America First" agenda.

According to the New York Times, Bannon met with the National Front's Marine Le Pen the same day as his remarks.

The National Front has never won the French presidency, and the congress in Lille is aimed at remaking its image after Le Pen's crushing defeat to independent, pro-globalization Emmanuel Macron in last year's presidential election.

The name is expected to be unveiled only on Sunday, shortly before the party delegates vote on it.

A younger leadership circle will likely emerge, but Marine Le Pen, the only candidate for president, will remain.

Bannon has already spoken in Zurich, Switzerland at an event organized by a conservative publication, and on Saturday headlined the annual conference for France's National Front. "She's one of the most impressive people in the entire world", Bannon told reporters without mentioning his host Marine Le Pen. 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.

She will announce a proposed new name for the party on Sunday.

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