Jean-Marie Le Pen, the larger-than-life founder of France’s far-right Front National party, endorsed Donald Trump on his Twitter feed on Saturday.
“If I was American I would vote for Donald Trump,” Le Pen tweeted. “May God protect him!”
Trump has often been compared to European far-right movements such as the Front National, with his mix of anti-immigrant rhetoric and economic populism seeming to mirror those movements more than anything else in American politics.
Le Pen was the leader of the Front National from its founding in 1972 to 2011, when his daughter Marine took over. Marine Le Pen forced Jean-Marie Le Pen out of the party last year after Le Pen again made Holocaust-denying remarks, re-upping his famous 1987 comments about the Nazi gas chambers being a “detail of history.” Le Pen has faced legal sanctions more than once for Holocaust denial and for other controversial statements. Over the decades, he has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about minorities.
Under Marine Le Pen, the party has pursued a strategy of “de-demonization,” seeking to shed its racist image and appeal to mainstream voters. The Front National advocates for a hardline anti-immigration policy alongside economic protectionism.
Trump has previously made an overture to the European right with an interview in Valeurs actuelles, a French magazine that is seen as bridging the divide between the center right and the far right.
A Trump spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
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