Trump former strategist Steve Bannon addresses France's far-right party congress

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But Mr. Bannon, who said he was paying for the trip, said he was weighing whether to buy a name-brand outlet, like Newsweek or United Press International, or to start a new one, or to connect entrepreneurs with capital or invest himself.

But Bannon might have threatened Le Pen's makeover with his compliments for an extreme version of the National Front and lavish praise for Le Pen's more hard-line niece and rival.

"Let them call you racists", Bannon said to the French National Front Party.

In Milan after meeting members of Italy's nationalist Five Star Movement, he told the New York Times that "All I'm trying to be is the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement" and is considering options for re-entering the global media market after being pushed out of Breitbart.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, a champion of Donald Trump's "America First" agenda, will address the National Front's party congress on Saturday, a senior official of the French anti-immigrant party said.

Macron won with 66% of the vote vs. 34% for Le Pen, who had threatened to curb immigration and pull France out of the European Union, among other measures.

Founded by Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the 1970s, the National Front plans to change its name via a vote on Sunday.

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Despite being ousted from his White House post past year and feuding with Trump in recent months, Bannon praised the president's "economic nationalism" that he said "does not care about your race, your religion, your ethnicity".

In France, some warned that Bannon's support could damage Le Pen's efforts to cleanse the National Front of the racist stigma that has long clung to the party's image.

Marechal-Le Pen, the darling of the FN old guard, withdrew from politics past year but made a high-profile appearance last month at a conservative jamboree in the U.S., fuelling speculation about a comeback. A new leadership structure and new bylaws are also being unveiled at the two-day congress. "It went from a party of protest first in its youth, then from a party of opposition to a party of government", Le Pen said on French broadcaster France 2. Jean-Marie Le Pen also is to be scratched from the party's books along with his title of honorary president-for-life.

He said that Bannon understood like Trump, Matteo Salvini and Marine Le Pen that people want to control their own destiny.

Since taking over the National Front's presidency in 2011, Le Pen has worked to erase the footprint of her father - who has convictions for racism and anti-Semitism - to broaden the party's appeal.

However, Le Pen's credibility is among the potential obstacles to a possible far-right comeback: An annual poll published this week by the Kantar-Sofres-One Point firm showed Le Pen scoring lower on numerous questions.

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