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French right-wing firebrand Jean-Marie Le Pen gives stamp of approval to Donald Trump

French far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen has come out in support of US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The public endorsement followed that of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

French far-right patriarch Jean-Marie Le Pen caused a major stir on social media on Sunday by publicly endorsing the US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"If I was American I would vote for Donald Trump. ... May God protect him," the 87-year-old founder of the National Front party tweeted in French.

Le Pen's endorsement came after former Mexican President Felipe Calderon had compared Trump to Adolf Hitler and after the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) David Duke had also come out in support of the Republican presidential hopeful.

Two peas in a pod

Jean-Marie Le Pen had been booted out of his own party last year after a bitter feud with his daughter over a series of inflammatory comments.

In 2015, Jean-Marie Le Pen called the Nazi gas chambers only a "detail" of history and said that France should get along with Russia in order to save the "white world." The year before, Le Pen had famously claimed that Ebola could clear up Europe's immigration problem "in three months."

While the elder Le Pen remains a thorn in the side of the National Front, the party has - much like Trump - won increasing support from voters disaffected with the traditional ruling class. The National Front drew a record number of votes in regional polls in December last year, but failed to win a single region.

Trump's popularity has also been surging in a similar way despite his public remarks, which many regard as offensive. Trump has referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and has called for an all-out immigration ban on all Muslims.

In the Republican primaries, Donald Trump has been leading the race for the Republican Party by a considerable margin.

ss/jlw (AFP)

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