A major Austrian party founded by Nazis is in DC for political meetings

The leader of the Austrian Freedom Party says he met with Trump’s NSA adviser in December.

Heinz-Christian Strache, chairman of the anti-migrant and anti-EU Freedom Party FPOe, smiles as he arrives in a TV studio in the Hofburg in Austria’s capital Vienna Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/Ronald Zak
Heinz-Christian Strache, chairman of the anti-migrant and anti-EU Freedom Party FPOe, smiles as he arrives in a TV studio in the Hofburg in Austria’s capital Vienna Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. CREDIT: AP Photo/Ronald Zak

An Austrian right-wing party founded by Nazis sent a delegation to Washington, D.C. this week for a series of political discussions.

“There is a series of invitations to talks with interesting political representatives of the United States on the sidelines of the US president’s inauguration on our packed schedule,” Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the Freedom Party, said recently.

The Freedom Party was founded in 1956, and its first leader was a former SS officer. The nationalist, nativist party recently lost domestic elections, albeit by a narrow margin. Norbert Hofer, the party’s presidential candidate, made anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments the core tenets of his campaign.

Strache recently called for “minus immigration” and compared Islam to Nazism. He claimed to have attended a meeting with President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn at Trump Tower in December, though Trump’s team denied the meeting.

Strache’s itinerary is unclear. His delegation was pictured with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) Thursday evening, though there is no indication whether or not they will be in attendance at the inauguration.

One right-wing figure who will be at the inauguration, though, is Nigel Farage, former leader of the U.K. Independence Party and a key figure in pushing for Britain’s split from the European Union.

Farage was invited to attend the inauguration by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R). Farage also threw an inauguration party Thursday night in honor of Trump’s ascent to power, the Guardian reported.

Other right wing figures in Europe, like France’s Marine Le Pen of the Front National (FN) and Frauke Petry of Alternative for German (AfD), will be attending a conference in the German city of Koblenz. Le Pen was seen in Trump Tower last week, though she claimed it wasn’t to meet Trump, despite her steadfast support for his campaign.

This post has been updated to include the tweet from Rep. Steve King.