US conservatives gather as President Donald Trump faces pressure on multiple fronts

Elias Hubbard
Февраля 22, 2018

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, the rising French nationalist, offered a vision of France that borrowed largely from the platform of President Trump during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.

"Freedom is a gift, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience... but now France must fight for its independence, France is no longer free".

Her grandfather is Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the party and stood for the presidency five times.

But she has always been viewed in France as a possible future leader of the National Front, and the fact that she was a keynote speaker at a conference that both Trump and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence were addressing was widely commented on in French media as posing a challenge for Marine Le Pen.

"I am not offended when I hear President Donald Trump say 'America first, '" she said to a loud cheer. "In fact I want "America First" for the American people, I want "Britain First" for the British people and I want 'France First" for the French people".

Prior to announcing she was taking a break from politics, Marechal-Le Pen had hinted at dissatisfaction with the internal party politicking and her relationship with both Marine Le Pen and the party's deputy chairman Florian Philippot, who has taken the FN in a more "social" direction to the chagrin of its more conservative wing.

Marechal-Le Pen, who is more socially conservative and economically liberal than her aunt, did not say if or when she was planning to return to an active role in French politics, instead mentioning her plans to open a management and political science school, which she said should train tomorrow's leaders. Yet in January of past year, she was seen attending an event hosted by an extremist identitarian group in France, a neo-fascist movement that advocates for "cultural homogeneity".

"She's for traditional marriage, she's pro-life, she doesn't believe that the welfare state solves problems and, yes, she wants to make sure when people immigrate into France that they want to be French and love the country".

She praised conservatives for putting their ideals at the forefront.

"Vive la France!" an attendee shouted out.

"We don't want this atomized world of individuals without gender, without father, without mother and without nation", she said. She remarked: "I hope you find me less terrifying than the American media finds me".

"When the people are given the opportunity to take their country back, they will seize it", she said.

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