Trump Welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Mar-a-Lago

Trump hosts hard-line Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán at Mar-a-Lago

Former President Donald Trump held a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at Mar-a-Lago on Friday, a move that drew swift criticism from President Joe Biden while on the campaign trail.

The Trump campaign released a statement regarding the meeting, indicating that the two leaders discussed various issues affecting both Hungary and the United States, with a focus on the importance of strong and secure borders to safeguard national sovereignty. Additionally, photos from the meeting were shared by the campaign.

Orbán, known for his efforts to transform Hungary into what he terms an “illiberal state,” has been criticized for actions such as undermining democracy by weakening the judiciary and restricting independent media. He has also developed close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has been resistant to NATO expansion and additional support for Ukraine.

During a campaign event in Pennsylvania, Biden expressed strong disapproval of Trump’s meeting with Orbán, emphasizing that the upcoming election is crucial for defending freedom and democracy. Biden highlighted Orbán’s previous statements against democracy and stressed his vision for a future where democracy is upheld, not diminished.

Trump Welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Mar-a-Lago
Trump Welcomes Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to Mar-a-Lago (Credits: Arab News)

Prime Minister Orbán shared videos on his Instagram account featuring his interactions with Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Prior to this meeting, Orbán had attended an event at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, where he emphasized common interests between conservative forces in Europe and the U.S., including support for families, opposition to illegal migration, and defense of national sovereignty.

Orbán’s stances on issues such as opposition to sending weapons to Ukraine, anti-immigrant sentiments, and criticism of “woke” culture and LGBTQ rights have endeared him to many pro-Trump Republicans who view his leadership as emblematic of Christian nationalism.

Karen Donfried, a former assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the Biden administration and now a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, noted the unusual nature of a visiting head of state meeting with a political opponent of the sitting president without engaging with top White House officials.

Donfried observed Orbán’s interest in strengthening ties with a potential Trump administration following the upcoming election.

Trump, for his part, recently shared a clip on his Truth Social platform featuring Orbán praising him during the Hungarian leader’s “State of the Nation” address and expressing a desire for Trump to return to the White House. Trump had previously endorsed Orbán months before his re-election to a fourth term in 2022.

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