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

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Former White House strategist Steve Bannon on Saturday told supporters of France's far-right Front National party to not be embarrassed by their history, as it is "on our side and will bring us victory", the Guardian reports.

National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, right, greets on stage former White House strategist Steve Bannon at the party congress in the northern French city of Lille, Saturday, March 10, 2018. "Let them call you xenophobes". "Wear it as a badge of honor", he declared.

Bannon added that the pivot was partly in order to prepare for the upcoming midterm elections.

The anti-immigration stance of Trump's campaign and presidency were attributed to Bannon before he left the White House and echo ideas that Le Pen has long championed.

A fresh New York Times profile gives some insight into Bannon's plans for taking over Europe, which range from training "an army of populist foot soldiers in the language and tools of social media", to spreading "populist websites in the image of Breitbart News".

Bannon's visit to France was his latest stop on a tour of European countries, which has included Switzerland and Italy.

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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. Le Pen had lost a contentious campaign for president of France past year to centrist Emmanuel Macron. The showing of the League, a National Front ally, "is a new step in the awakening of the people", Le Pen tweeted. Let them call you nativist. 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.

According to Le Pen, the party "must acquire the culture of alliances, acquire the culture of a government party", and "changing the name is one of the ways to make it known".

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

Le Pen is promoting a new name, a new leadership structure and new bylaws for the National Front at the two-day congress with the hope her party can become relevant again in France. "Because everyday we get stronger and they get weaker".

Ten months ago, the party was on a high after Le Pen saw off the Socialist candidate to take the FN into the second round of the presidential election with unprecedented support, though not enough to defeat Macron.

Bannon met Marion, who temporarily withdrew from politics after her aunt's presidential election defeat last May, at the CPAC conservative conference in Maryland last month, where he said she was "absolutely electrifying".