Trump Offers Far-Right Leader His 'Complete Support'

Endorses Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for reelection
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2022 11:25 AM CST
Trump Endorsement of Hungarian PM Called 'Unusual'
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Perry, Ga., on Sept. 25, 2021.   (AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)

Former President Trump's endorsements continue to make headlines, but on Monday, he offered his backing to a candidate who isn't a Republican—or an American. In what the Washington Post terms an "unusual endorsement in a foreign election," Trump released a statement endorsing far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for reelection in what's shaping up to be a close parliamentary election that's expected in April. More:

  • The statement. "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. He is a strong leader and respected by all. He has my Complete support and Endorsement for reelection as Prime Minister!"

  • Unusual but not unprecedented. As far as foreign endorsements go, Politico points out that in October 2019, Trump endorsed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's bid for reelection as well, a move Trump made while still president.
  • Who Orban is up against. The Post reports opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay has the backing of six opposition parties who want to boot Orban, who champions an "illiberal democracy." The New York Times details the ways in which Orban has worked to chip away at Hungary's independent and democratic institutions, from reeling in press freedoms to altering election laws for the benefit of his Fidesz party.
  • The relationship background. The AP reports Orban was the first leader of an EU nation to endorse Trump in the 2016 election; he repeated that endorsement in 2020. Trump and Orban met in the Oval Office in 2019, with Trump saying at the time that Orban was "probably like me ... a bit controversial, but that's OK."
  • President Biden's take. Biden hasn't been so warm to Orban. He called him a "thug" in 2020 and declined to invite him to December's virtual Summit for Democracy; Hungary was the only EU nation that didn't get an invite from Biden.
  • Not just Trump. Orban has enjoyed support from other US personalities on the right. Politico points out that in August, Fox News host Tucker Carlson temporarily hosted his show from Budapest, where he both interviewed Orban and "lavished praise" on him. Steve Bannon once called him "the most significant guy on the scene right now," per the Post.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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