Steve Bannon tells far-right Front National party in France 'history is on our side'
President Donald Trump's former adviser tells them they are 'part of a worldwide movement bigger than France, bigger than Italy'
The former editor of right-leaning Breitbart News had helped the President shape his "America First" agenda and met with National Front leader Marine Le Pen, known for her controversial anti-immigration views.
"You're part of a worldwide movement bigger than France, bigger than Italy," he told a cheering crowd in Lille, France for the party's convention. Ms Le Pen said inviting Mr Bannon to speak was important because he was "the architect of Donald Trump's victory". She also cited his views on giving regular people "power, which in his mind and mine, too, has been practically illegally captured by the elite".
Mr Bannon's appearance seems to be part of the Front National's attempted re-branding. They are set to announce a new name in a bid to draw more voters after Ms Le Pen lost to the more centrist French President Emmanuel Macron in last year's election.
Recent polls suggested at least three-quarters of the country think Ms Le Pen would make a bad president. She has garnered more political momentum than her father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, but her loss to Mr Macron was partially due to her threats to pull France out of the European Union.
Her nationalists-vs-globalists stance - echoing similar sentiments across Europe and Mr Bannon's own agenda while at the White House - makes her election as party leader again all but already won ahead of the party vote on Sunday.
In a similar exchange of political ideologies, Ms Le Pen's niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen came to Washington DC last month to speak in front of powerful right-wingers and Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
However, curiously, the younger Ms Le Pen will not be attending the party conference in Lille this weekend and neither will Mr Le Pen, who was ousted from the party by his daughter and publicly criticised the proposed rebranding.
The strategist was once a key fixture on Mr Trump's campaign team towards the finish line in 2016 and lasted through August 2017 in the White House.
Reports of his strained, at best, relationship with Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both also White House advisers, was likely one of the reasons for his departure in an administration that has had unusually high turnover.
But it may have also been Mr Bannon's ties to white supremacists which resulted in his departure. The Charlottesville, Virginia riots in which two state police officers and one counter-protester were killed occurred just days before the announcement.
Mr Trump had given several conflicting statements over the protests, which began with white nationalists and neo-Nazis protesting the removal of a statue of Civil War Robert E Lee, who fought for the right to continue slavery in the American South. He ultimately said "both sides" were to blame for the violence and took days to condemn white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups at the protest.
Mr Bannon has long been said to have prodded the President into not alienating white supremacists because they are an active part of the Trump base of support.
As early as 2013, he said he is a "Leninist" and that his main goal was to "destroy all of today's establishment". Whether he actually came into the White House four years later with that agenda is unclear, but reports have suggested he did have a personal agenda - in addition to a personal publicist - and despised "establishment" Republicans like former Chief of Staff Reince Preibus who came from directly from the GOP.
Mr Bannon also just spoke at an event hosted in Zurich, Switzerland for the country's weekly right-wing magazine Die Weltwoche as well.