As Bannon entered the hall to cheers and applause, the US flag was unfurled above the stage.
Although no longer a White House staffer, Bannon, who has been doing a tour of European cities including Zurich, Milan and Rome, praised his former boss.
“Our dear President Trump said: ‘We’ve had enough of globalists’,” he told FN members.
“Today’s politics cannot be summed up by the left-right divide. During the 2008 financial crisis, the governments and banks looked after themselves above all, they saved themselves and not the people.”
Bannon said Trump had three main concerns: stopping “massive immigration”; persuading manufacturers who had left for China to return to the US; and pulling the US out of the quagmire conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“You recall the evening of the American election, the traditional medias were shocked. They could never have believed that the Americans had finally voted in their own interests.
“You fight for your country and they call you racist. But the days when those kind of insults work is over. The establishment media are the dogs of the system. Every day, we become stronger and they become weaker. Let them call you racists, xenophobes or whatever else, wear these like a medal.”
Bannon ended his discourse with: “God bless America and vive la France.”
At the two-day conference in the northern city of Lille, FN president Marine Le Pen’s is attempting to “re-found” her rightwing party, announcing a change of name – to be revealed on Sunday and validated by a members’ vote – to show the FN has come of age, shaken off its controversial past and is ready to govern.
Le Pen is also trying to reassert her personal and political authority after a drop in popularity following her crushing defeat by Emmanuel Macron in last year’s presidential election. Many in the party blame Le Pen for her chaotic and bizarre performance in a pre-final vote debate with Macron.
Le Pen is under investigation on claims she misused European Union staff for FN business, and facing defiance from her estranged father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the FN in the 1970s, but who has since been thrown out of the party for xenophobic and racist comments. He was stripped of his “honorary president” role in a change of rules at Saturday’s congress.
Marine Le Pen also faces a possible future challenge from her niece, Marion Marechal Le Pen, who announced she was temporarily withdrawing from politics after the 2017 presidential election but is seen to be waiting in the wings.
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Featured image courtesy of AP