Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, is gearing up for a very Europe-centric future. Bannon told the Daily Beast that his plan is to offer a foil to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation with his own populist organization that he says will be called The Movement. “Soros is brilliant,” Bannon said. “He’s evil but he’s brilliant.”
The way Bannon envisions it, The Movement will seek to help out far-right candidates across the continent, assisting them with polling and messaging. The goal is for the foundation to set up its footprint with the European Parliament elections next spring. Bannon’s vision includes forming a right-wing “supergroup” in the European Parliament that could include as many as a third of the lawmakers. “A united populist bloc of that size would have the ability to seriously disrupt parliamentary proceedings, potentially granting Bannon huge power within the populist movement,” explains the Daily Beast. After the November midterm elections, Bannon himself plans to spend around 50 percent of his time in Europe.
The news is hardly out of the blue considering that Bannon has been traveling to Europe to support right-wing candidates and groups since he was ousted from the White House in August 2017. “I’d rather reign in hell, than serve in heaven,” Bannon told the Daily Beast. He raised lots of eyebrows earlier this year when he told a gathering of the far-right in France that they should be proud of being called racists. “Let them call you racists,” Bannon said to members of the French National Front party at their annual congress. “Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor.”
Bannon expects to start relatively small with the organization that will likely be headquartered in Brussels. He will start hiring staff in the next few months but expects there will be fewer than 10 full-time staff before the European Parliament election in May 2019. If all goes well, the goal is to eventually increase that number to 25.