ROME (AP) — Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon declared Saturday that far-right “patriots” are the “new elite” of Europe as he brought his push for a trans-national, anti-European Union drive to Italy.
The ex-aide to U.S. President Donald Trump addressed a forum in Rome organized by a small far-right Italian opposition party.
Bannon was asked if there should be a new “elite” in growing, far-right populist movements.
His reply? The “new elite in this populist movement are the patriots” in society.
He heaped praised on populist leaders, pitting sovereignty movements against Brussels-based European Union influence on the continent.
Among the models he cited was one in Italy’s six-month-old populist government, which includes hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the right-wing, anti-migrant League party.
Salvini, who addressed the forum earlier Saturday, said the far-right political spectrum includes “the true defenders of European values.”
The Italian, who is also a deputy premier, said the European Parliament elections in May across the continent offer right-wingers “the occasion to send a force into government in Europe that’s not socialist.”
Bannon, in his comments, encouraged Italy’s populists to push their sovereignty-focused agenda to counter EU policies. He is working to help form a united trans-national front to push politics in Europe far to the right.
British parents Tom Evans and Kate James were honored at the forum for their unsuccessful legal battle to keep their toddler son, Alfie Evans, on life support in a British hospital. Far-right figures had focused on the case as an example of the wishes of one family against a “socialist” state.
The 23-year-month-old child died in April after British judges agreed with doctors that more treatment was futile. He had a degenerative neurological disease that left him with almost no brain function. Pope Francis was among those championing the cause of the parents.
Tom Evans told the forum that a foundation has been set up to help people in a difficult stage of life like Alfie’s parents had endured, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The political event was organized by the Brothers of Italy party, whose political roots come from a descendent of a neo-fascist party.
Sardinia’s far-right governor, Paolo Truzzo, a Brothers of Italy leader, gave the award to the father, who recounted the drama of his son and who thanked, among others, the pope and the party’s leader, Giorgia Meloni, for their support.
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