In a recent interview with the Financial Times, US President Donald Trump praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, calling him a “respected person” and echoing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s criticism of American democracy.
Trump said, “Vladimir Putin said (American democracy) is a funny business, and he’s right. But we have something here that you don’t have in Hungary, and you don’t have it in Russia — we have great respect for freedom and liberty and human rights. You don’t see that the same way in those two countries as we do in the United States. Viktor Orban has done a tremendous job in so many different ways. He has a strong immigration policy — very strong. He’s also been very good with respect to Christianity.”
The President’s comments come despite Orban’s persistent authoritarianism, and his crackdown on free speech, civil liberties, and independent media in Hungary. His often xenophobic rhetoric, too, has drawn fire from across much of Europe. Trump’s praise for Orban echoes Putin’s criticism of American democracy, in which he challenges US claims to moral superiority and accuses the United States of hypocrisy when it comes to democracy.