Steve Bannon is supporting a 'gladiator' school in Italy for right-wing politicians

Scott Olson/Getty ImagesSteve Bannon, former advisor to President Donald Trump.
  • Steve Bannon is supporting efforts to transform an Italian monastery into a “gladiator” school for right-wing politicians across Europe.
  • The project is being lead by Benjamin Harnwell, a former European Parliament staffer and director of the right-wing Dignitatis Humanae Institute.
  • The school drew protests in December from several hundred locals.

Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon has put full support behind revamping a centuries old Italian monastery into what he described to the Washington Post as a “gladiator school for culture warriors.”

The monastery, located on a remote Italian hilltop a couple hours outside of Rome, will teach students how to defend “the Judeo-Christian West,” Bannon told CBS News, adding that the school will be aimed toward “mid-career” people “looking to do something different.”The Daily Beast described the school as “an alt-right compound in the foothills around Rome.”

At the helm of the project is Benjamin Harnwell, a former European Parliament staffer and Bannon associate with ties to the pro-Brexit UKIP party. Harnwell is currently the director of the right-wing Dignitatis Humanae Institute, which on its website describes its mission as, “defending the Judaeo-Christian foundations of Western Civilisation through the recognition that Man is made in the Image and Likeness of God.”

Harnwell told CBS News that he was initially drawn to Bannon following a 2014 speech he delivered via Skype at a conference organised by the Institute at the Vatican. Bannon spoke on his issues with capitalism, the “immense secularization of the West,” and what he described as the West’s “outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism,” according to a transcript of the speech obtained by BuzzFeed.

Harnwell told CBS News that he currently lives at the monastery, called Trisulti, along with one monk and a cook, and plans to accept around 50 students in the school’s first class. He told The Daily Beast that the university will cater to right-wing politicians across Europe.

The school drew protests from several hundred locals in December displaying banners that read “Stop Bannon, Free Europe,” according to Agence-France Presse.

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