Critics are horrified as Trump endorses strongman Viktor Orbán in Hungarian election
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will meet US President Donald Trump at the White House on May 13 (AFP Photo/ATTILA KISBENEDEK)

In Hungary, far-right strongman Viktor Orbán is seeking a fourth consecutive term, and he is enjoying the endorsement of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

In an official statement released this week, Trump declared, “Viktor Orbán 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.”

Trump isn’t the only one in the MAGA movement who has openly supported the authoritarian Orbán, who has also been praised by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. But one right-wing conservative who has been vehemently critical of Carlson and Trump for their praise of Orbán is veteran columnist/author and Never Trumper Mona Charen, who worked in the Reagan White House during the 1980s and was a speechwriter for First Lady Nancy Reagan.

In a scathing article published by The Bulwark on August 11, 2021, Charen argued that Carlson was no better than American leftists who visited Cuba during the 1960s and 1970s and openly praised communist dictator Fidel Castro. Charen wrote, “As someone who was weaned on stories of leftist intellectuals and journalists traipsing off to communist countries to pay obeisance, I can only shake my head as a parade of right-wingers are making their way to Hungary to sing the praises of authoritarian Viktor Orbán. Tucker Carlson of Fox News is the highest profile rightist to make the trek, but the path was already well-trod.”

Orbán, like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embodies a form of far-right authoritarianism that pretends to be democratic but is, in fact, quite oppressive. Technically, Orbán, Putin and Erdogan do not enjoy dictator-for-life status the way that Gen. Francisco Franco did in Spain, but they have undermined checks and balances in their countries to such a degree that voting them out of office becomes next to impossible — no matter how much they pretend to support democratic elections. And the MAGA movement is trying to implement this authoritarian model in the United States by making sure that only Trump loyalists are in charge of election administration.

Here are some responses to Trump's endorsement of Orbán: