NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — French Far-Right leader Marion Maréchal-Le Pen spoke in favor Pres­ident Donald Trump’s “America first” policies at the Con­ser­v­ative Political Action Con­ference on Thursday.

According to Maréchal-Le Pen, Trump’s 2016 pres­i­dential victory fits into what she said was a sweep of national pride among nations dis­sat­isfied with glob­alist leaders in 2016. She encouraged con­ser­v­a­tives attending CPAC to embrace the same nation­alist prin­ciples she holds dear.

“I’m not offended when I hear Trump say, ‘America first,’” she said. “I want America first for Amer­icans, France first for French people, Britain first for British people.”

Maréchal-Le Pen is the grand­daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the French nation­alist party National Front. She served as a rep­re­sen­tative for the party in France’s National Assembly until 2017. The French National Front opposes the European Union and sup­ports strict eco­nomic pro­tec­tionism as well as the restriction of inter­na­tional immi­gration.

Maréchal-Le Pen spoke about these con­cerns, empha­sizing the need for nations to cleave to their own national identity.

“Our [France’s] freedom is in the hands of the EU,” she said. “And the EU is an ide­ology without a people, without roots, and without civ­i­lization.”

Since France “lost its identity” to the EU, Maréchal-Le Pen said she has noticed that more Muslims have moved to France, threat­ening the country’s “sur­vival.”

“France is in the process of passing from the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church to the little niece of Islam,” she said.

Maréchal-Le Pen con­nected what she sees as her country’s struggle for its own identity to the struggles of the United States and Great Britain to maintain their autonomy from multi-national pacts such as the Paris Climate Accord and the EU. She praised the American people for electing Trump and said that Brexit sets an example for the rest of Europe.

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

Maréchal-Le Pen is not the first nation­alist leader to make an appearance at CPAC. Last year, con­vention orga­nizers expelled Alt-Right spokesman Richard Spencer for appearing at the con­ference and con­ducting a press con­ference in which he espoused nation­alist views based in white supremacy.

“His views are repugnant and have absolutely nothing to do with con­ser­vatism or what we do here,” CPAC spokesman Ian Walters told National Public Radio at the time.

With regard to Maréchal-Le Pen’s speech this year, Spencer (who has not returned to CPAC since his ejection) told The Col­legian that he under­stands why CPAC would welcome her presence rather than his, even though the two share similar views: He’s a Twitter per­son­ality, not a foreign political leader.

“Con­ser­v­a­tives will attack people who are closer to them geo­graph­i­cally, while being more open to people abroad, who don’t chal­lenge their claim to deter­mining what is Right and what is not-Right in America,” he said. “I’m happy CPAC invited her. I wouldn’t be happy, however, if this meant that Le Pen and the National Front are becoming more like American con­ser­v­a­tives.”

Spencer added that he believes someone like Maréchal-Le Pen can hold an audience at CPAC because, in his view, American con­ser­vatism is too loosely defined to pro­hibit nation­alism in the long run.

“Con­ser­vatism is based in eco­nomics and con­fronting the Soviet Union, with some vague values thrown into the mix,” he said. “A true con­ser­vatism must be based in people and civ­i­lization — roots — as Le Pen says.”

Senior Joshua Lieb­hauser said Maréchal-Le Pen should not be con­sidered as any­thing near con­ser­v­ative. He said, however, there are parts of her ide­ology that con­ser­v­a­tives can hold in common, par­tic­u­larly her belief that parents should play a larger role in raising their children than the state. Addi­tionally, he said that he under­stands why her nation­alism would res­onate with pro­tec­tionist Trump sup­porters.

“Each country should put its own interests first, whether that be France or the U.S.,” Lieb­hauser said.

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Putting your own nations interests ‘first’ is just common sense. It has been prac­ticed by the majority of nations in the world-except for the USA, until Trump was elected. Obama couldn’t have cared less about US interests, IMO. He was not only a glob­alist but anti-western and anti-American in par­ticular. He felt American excep­tion­alism was a net-neg­ative for the world. For­tu­nately the pen­dulum swings freely in America and Barack Obama’s policies have been repu­diated by voters. As for Le Pen, she may be a French nation­alist but she also sup­ports socialist policies that most American con­ser­v­a­tives would find repugnant. France is mired in socialism and it’ll take decades to root it out-if the will exists to do that.

    • Jen­nifer Melfi

      mainly talking about anti-semitism and racism that she espouses

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    Is hillsdale college in favor of this type of “con­ser­vatism”?

    • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

      It’s not a question of being in favor of it so much as acknowl­edging they have a right to their opinion. I would not con­sider Le Pen to be con­ser­v­ative in the American sense. On the other hand, there really aren’t any con­ser­v­ative parties in French pol­itics. They are all somewhat socialist by our mea­suring stick, it’s just a question of how much? France is in deep political trouble, they have no political figures cur­rently who will take the strong steps to get them out of their problems and the French news media is insipid whenever anybody even tries.