ROME—Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon has lashed out at the Italian government after the Council of State pulled the plug on plans to set up a sort of boot camp for populists in an 800-year-old monastery in the foothills of Rome.
“The government have proven themselves corrupt, incompetent, and broke,” Bannon said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Everybody—allies and foes alike—admit the annulment of our lease was politically motivated.”
In a ruling in the highly-deliberated case delivered late Monday, Italy decided to revoke the lease they granted to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) which was founded by British conservative Ben Harnwell, who has been a close ally of Bannon. The ruling leaves the DHI without a property to build what was to be called the Academy for the Judeo-Christian West.
“After winning seven of seven previous legal decisions, this ruling is a joke which brings further shame on Italy’s already-stained judiciary in eyes of the whole world,” said Bannon, who Trump pardoned of fraud charges on his last day in office. “We refuse to be stopped by the corrupt bureaucracy that infests Italian government and hurts the Italian people.”
American Cardinal Raymond Burke—a strong critic of Pope Francis—was for a time the honorary president of DHI. Burke softened on Bannon after he announced plans to make a film about rampant homosexuality in the Vatican.
Bannon, a divorced Catholic, had intended to draw far-right leaders and budding enthusiasts to the monastery in the hilltop town of Trisulti where Harnwell has been staying with a couple of elderly monks while initial work is done. “They have failed repeatedly to treat Trisulti with the care it deserves; depriving the monastery with the resources for maintenance it so desperately needs,” Bannon said in his statement.
The Italian Council of State listed contractual failings and a lack of a financial plan as part of its reasoning to withdraw the lease. Bannon and Harnwell vow to appeal the decision. “This is the sort of thing you expect from third world countries, not a founding nation of Western Civilization,” Bannon said. “We intend to appeal and win. Trisulti is an Italian treasure and we will fight for it.”