Budapest, Hungary – Former US President Donald Trump publicly endorsed Prime Minister Viktor Orban ahead of the 2022 parliamentary elections in Hungary.
In a statement published on Monday, Trump wrote that “Viktor Orban of Hungary truly loves his Country and wants safety for his people”.
“He has done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming Election,” the former President wrote. “He is a strong leader and respected by all. He has my Complete support and Endorsement for reelection as Prime Minister!”.
Trump’s endorsement of Orban doesn’t come as a surprise. During the former’s time in office, the two leaders were often described as kindred political spirits and enjoyed a close relationship.
In 2019, Trump granted the Hungarian Prime Minister a meeting in the White House, breaking with years of isolation from former US administrations over Orban’s rule of law record and concerns about Hungary’s close ties with authoritarian countries such as Russia and China.
Orban himself was one of the very few European leaders to publicly endorse Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
More recently, the Hungarian Prime Minister received a “congratulations note” from the ex-President after his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News’ show. In another example of American conservatives’ growing support for Orban, former vice-President Mike Pence also visited Budapest last year to attend an annual conference hosted by the Hungarian government.
US-Hungarian relations have quickly deteriorated since the election of Joe Biden, who during his campaign likened Orban’s Hungary to “totalitarian regimes” and has taken a tougher approach over what it describes as a worrying consolidation of power and growing authoritarian tendencies at the expense of basic democratic values and processes.
Last month, Hungary was the only EU member state not to be invited to the Biden administration’s virtual Summit for Democracy.
Ironically, Hungarian officials and Orban himself have repeatedly accused the current US President of trying to influence and interfere in the parliamentary election scheduled for the spring in favour of the opposition.
Since leaving office, Donald Trump has already endorsed another foreign leader, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, for reelection.