The pro-Putin European far right led by France’s Marine Le Pen and Dutch demagogue Geert Wilders penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle on election night, with senior Front National party officials and EU lawmakers scoring prized invites to watch the count unfold from inside Trump Tower campaign headquarters in New York.
In a sign the US president-elect is growing more trans-Atlantic alliances with like-minded anti-immigrant populists, Le Pen’s high-profile parliamentary and European affairs adviser Ludovic de Danne bragged about his team’s entrée among the happy few “chez Trump.” The starstruck apparatchik posted selfies from the chandeliered interiors of Trump’s Fifth Avenue edifice, glorying in his role ushering fellow Front National figure and Member of the European Parliament Denis Franceskin, Austrian far right European parliamentarian Harald Vilimsky and nationalist Romanian EU lawmaker Laurentiu Rebega, all into Trump central. “Proud to have been invited to the home of the future president of the United States of America to bring patriots and witnesses from the [European Parliamentary group] @ENP_EP. #domino” de Danne Tweeted.
The four invitees, whose Trump Tower presence was reported by Paris L’Express magazine, are all members of the pro-Brexit, anti-EU, immigrant- and Muslim-bashing ENF Europe of Nations and Freedom Group headlined by Le Pen and Wilders. As leader of the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom, anti-Islam libertarian Wilders has adopted Trump’s Make America Great Again slogan for Dutch consumption, and lavishly praised his election as “The Second American Revolution.” He even got to write his own paen to the new commander-in-chief elect on Trump’s media mouthpiece Breitbart News.
Putin lackey and Trump campaign friend de Danne has been driving Le Pen’s connections with the US media, too, acting as translator for the ‘I don’t speak English I’m French’ Front National boss when she was feted as a controversial invited guest at last year’s Time 100 gala in New York. He was with the Trump team on one of the final campaign stops in North Carolina, permitting himself another boastful selfie. A Tweet he shared yesterday tagging Putin and the Kremlin vaunted the Front National’s allegiance to their beloved Russian despot, shown in an outsized photo alongside Trump, Theresa May and Le Pen — described as the “last one left to fill the magic square.”
The presence of the foreign political identities and lawmakers at Tuesday night’s Trumpkin shindig is significant because it reveals the rapidly escalating links between the pro-Kremlin Trump camp and extreme right populists in Europe, whose campaign platforms are sounding increasingly similar. Call it the new Washington-Brussels-Moscow Axis.
Like Trump, anti-system, Muslim-maligning Le Pen is a devoted fan of Vladimir Putin and has even been described as his “Vice-Tsarina.” A French Canal Plus documentary alleged Putin’s inner circle refer to her as “Russia’s best propagandist.” French reports and official documents have exposed large-scale Putin funding for the National Front. French website Mediapart revealed in 2014 that the extreme-right party created by Marine’s father, confessed Algerian war, torturer and Holocaust-denier Jean Marie Le Pen — himself an ardent Putin admirer who has been received by the Russian leader’s coterie — had already received significant financial backing from the Kremlin.
Since the Trumpslide, Le Pen, who is tipped to make it to the second round of the French presidential poll next April/May, has been trying to jump on the American bandwagon. She called a press conference to crow about the US election result as “marking a great movement across the world,” blatantly telegraphing her hopes of aligning herself with the New York billionaire and the falling international center left dominos.
Tuesday night’s Trump team welcome of European extreme right operatives and lawmakers is the first open manifestation of friendly collaboration between the continental movements and the Republican president-elect. Back in March when Le Pen came to the US with assorted far right agitators for a political trip funded by the European Parliament, her request for a one-on-one meeting with The Donald was rebuffed by the Trump camp, leery of being seen diverging from domestic concerns in the midst of the White House race. Since the June Brexit vote, however, Trump has welcomed former UKIP boss Nigel Farage on to his campaign trail and now appears willing to extend the “Populist international” largesse toward his continental comrades who are repaying him with handsome praise.
“I never doubted Mr. Trump would win. We are witnessing the same uprising on both sides of the Atlantic. The Patriotic Spring is sweeping the Western world,” gloated Wilders on Breitbart. “People are standing up and liberating themselves. Yesterday, the American people made it quite clear that they do not want to follow in Western Europe’s footsteps. They do not want to give their country away.”