Update: An adviser to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has resigned in protest over Orbán's comments on the mixing of races. Zsuzsa Hegedus, whom the BBC describes as a member of Orbán's inner circle who has known him for two decades, called Orbán's weekend speech "pure Nazi text" that was "worthy of Goebbels," according to local media cited by the Guardian. Hegedus says while she has defended Orbán in the past when he's been accused of anti-Semitism, he's recently taken an "illiberal turn" and that this speech went too far and cannot be excused. The BBC says party resignations such as this are "almost unheard of" in Hungary. Orbán's spokesperson says the media is misrepresenting the PM's comments. In accepting Hegedus' resignation, Orbán staunchly denied accusations of racism. Our original story from Tuesday follows:
Critics are calling Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán a dangerous man after he condemned the mixing of races over the weekend. Speaking at an event in Romania on Saturday, the right-wing leader said countries where Europeans mix with non-Europeans "are no longer nations: they are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples." "In the Carpathian Basin, we are not mixed race," Orbán continued, per Politico, referring to a geographical area that includes Hungary and parts of Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine, and other neighbors. "We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become mixed race," he said, predicting a decade of "uncertainty and war" and the decline of the West, per the Guardian.
Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said Monday that the country did not agree with the "unacceptable" position and "it is regrettable that such ideas are propagated from the territory of Romania, in the complex global context that we all have to face," per Digi24. Hungarian opposition leader Ferenc Gyurcsány, a former prime minister, said Orbán was a "tragedy" and his speech was a "Nazi text," according to a translated Facebook post. "My blood is no different than other people's blood," he wrote. Hungary's largest Jewish organization demanded a meeting with Orbán, while the Central European division of the American Jewish Committee warned of the danger of "stigmatizing and prioritizing ethnicities."
Many consider Orbán—who is accused of eroding media freedoms and judicial independence, enabling corruption and nepotism, and attacking LGBTQ people in Hungary—to be "the face of a new wave of authoritarianism" and "a pioneer of a new approach to anti-democratic rule," per the AP, which notes he's "become a hero to segments of the Republican Party." He is to rub elbows with former President Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and other conservative figures next month at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, where he is scheduled to speak. "What we like about him is that he's actually standing up for the freedom of his people against the tyranny of the EU," CPAC head Matt Schlapp tells the AP. (Read more Viktor Orban stories.)