Steve Bannon to French far-right: Wear racism allegations "as a badge of honor"
Steve Bannon may have fallen from President Trump's graces for now, but on Saturday, he was the darling of France's far right movement. Bannon, Mr. Trump's former chief strategist whom the president praised before he excoriated him at the beginning of January, found his nationalist, populist and "anti-globalist" message in good company once again.
"I did not come here as a teacher. I came here as an observer, and to learn," he said through a translator from the stage in Lilles, France, sporting his infamous laid-back jacket and khaki pants.
On Saturday, Bannon received a warm welcome from the audience of French far-right leaders of the National Front, not the least of which when he told them to embrace any charges of racism and wear them "as a badge of honor."
"Our populist nationalist movement in the United States is maybe 10 or 15 years old," Bannon said. "We are here to learn from you."
Bannon said he's observed this all over the world, in places like Japan, Korea, the Middle East, the U.S., and now in Western Europe.
"History is on our side. And the biggest reason -- the globalists have no answers to freedom. Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativist. Wear it as a badge of honor," Bannon said, applause erupting from the audience. "Because every day, we get stronger, and they get weaker."
Bannon -- not only out of a job at the White House but out of a job at Breitbart News, where he was once executive chairman -- has taken to the road in Europe, meeting with those who share his worldview and giving speeches. Bannon, according to The New York Times, had what he called a "fascinating" meeting earlier this week with leaders of Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany party.
His obvious absence from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C., last month, when he was a star of the show only the year before -- a clear sign of where he stands publicly with some of Mr. Trump's most avid supporters — isn't keeping him from trying his hand elsewhere.
"What I've learned is you are part of a worldwide movement that is bigger than France, bigger than Italy, bigger than Hungary, bigger than all of it," he said. "And history is on our side."
Bannon's tone Saturday made it easy to forget he was once a Goldman Sachs executive, as he disparaged central banks, major tech companies, political donors and the media alike -- the nexus of power that he sees as damaging the common man's fate.
"The central governments, the central banks, the central crony capitalist technology companies control you," Bannon said Saturday, claiming those institutions have taken people on the "road to serfdom."
Bannon's future is the stuff of Washington conversation, but -- at least to the public -- he doesn't seem too concerned. Part of that may have something to do with his extensive resources. Last year, White House documents pinpointed his net worth to somewhere between $9.5 million and $48 million.
Bannon still hasn't given up on the message that he believes helped propel Mr. Trump from the board room to the Situation Room, nor has he given up on Mr. Trump. Bannon praised Mr. Trump Saturday for "finally starting to show the globalists the door," a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to the soon-departing top Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn. Mr. Trump also took a crack at Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, as a "globalist" earlier this week.
But wherever Bannon lands, he doesn't look like he will be abandoning his support of Mr. Trump -- or reeling in his message -- anytime soon.
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