In a terse warning from the Washington Post editorial board, President Donald Trump was excoriated for his scheduled Monday afternoon meeting, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who the board bluntly describes as a “pariah.”
According to the board, Orban is another in a long line of authoritarian world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan whom the president has welcomed with open arms while the rest of the world understandably recoils.
As the editors write, “Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a virtual pariah within the European Union because of his dismantling of his country’s democratic institutions, cruel treatment of asylum seekers and anti-Semitic provocations. But on Monday he is due to be welcomed to the White House by President Trump, who appears to prefer crude autocrats of Mr. Orban’s type to the liberal democratic leaders of the United States’ closest allies.”
As the editorial notes, “The Oval Office meeting will be a triumph for Mr. Orban, who was rightly shunned by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and who shut down Hungary’s opposition media, eliminated independent courts, drove a prestigious U.S. university out of Budapest and spewed hateful rhetoric toward Muslims and, in more subtle terms, Jews.”
While the White House claims that Trump is trying to come between Orban and a burgeoning relationship with Russia and China, Trump’s own ambassador to the European country surprisingly admitted in an interview that Trump admires Orban’s use of power.
“I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orban has, but he doesn’t,” Ambassador David Cornstein told the Atlantic.
Of note, the Post points out Orban’s unabashed anti-Semitism which was exemplified by his campaign last year “centered on the claim that the Budapest-born billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish, was plotting to overwhelm Hungary with Muslim immigrants.”
“We are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open, but hiding; not straightforward, but crafty; not honest, but base; not national, but international; does not believe in working, but speculates with money,” Orban claimed at the time.
“Mr. Trump’s affinity for this demagogue is matched by his administration’s steadily worsening relations with traditionally close U.S. allies such as Germany and France,” the board writes. “As Europe’s centrist parties struggle with a growing challenge from far-right parties with racist and authoritarian agendas, the United States ought to be doing all it can to bolster liberal democracy, especially in those parts of Europe where its roots are shallow. Instead, with increasing boldness, Mr. Trump is siding with democracy’s enemies.”
You can read more here.