France’s far right is wary of Trump, but head-over-heels for Putin

Christopher Dickey reports: Marine Le Pen, 48, who could very possibly be the next president of France, speaks positively but with a certain reserve about U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump. It’s the kind of hesitation one hears when someone talks about a potential ally or partner who might, just might, be crazy. Because Trump does give that impression in Europe and, whatever one might say about her, Le Pen does not.

So, for all the general approbation she’s expressed about Trump’s election, and all the nice things Trump counselor Stephen Bannon has said about her Front National party, and especially about her comely young niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (“Europe’s New Rock Star of the Right,” as Breitbart headlined), according to Marine Le Pen, “nobody” in her party “has had relations … with Mr. Bannon or any other member of the provisional administration of Donald Trump.”

In fact, the mention of her niece and Bannon seemed to set Marine Le Pen off her stride. There are some figures in the Front National, she said, who have longstanding ties to a few Republican leaders, but not exactly to Trump. “Me, I… I …” she said, hesitating and calculating, “I think that these relations will deepen when I will have been elected president.”

So Trump, Bannon, and her niece seem to be points of some confusion for Marine Le Pen. But in an hour-long conference with the Anglo-American Press Association here which ignored almost entirely the likely opponents she will face in the French presidential elections next April, there were two figures she spoke about with perfect clarity: Hillary Clinton, who seems to represent everything she hates; and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who appears to be able to do no wrong. Indeed, she often seemed to be reciting Kremlin talking points. [Continue reading…]

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