Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, not only won’t condemn right wing nationalist Hungarian President Viktor Orbán and Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for their anti-immigrant views – he claims that they are among “the most caring people in the world.”

“I don’t condemn Orbán or Salvini,” Bannon said at The Economist’s Open Future Festival on Saturday. “They are some of the most caring people in the world.”

Bannon’s interviewer, The Economist’s Editor in Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, shot back, “You refuse to condemn people who are racist. This why people think you are racist.”



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When pressed bu Beddoes about Salvino’s comments about possibly expelling some of the country’s Roma population, Bannon deflected. “It’s a way to get the Roma into the school system and the health system,” he said. “You trying to smear Orbán and Salvini with a few quotes.”

Bannon also made headlines at the festival by revealing that Sarah Palin was his first choice to run for president in 2016.

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