Trump gleefully compares himself to an authoritarian strongman
Hungary's democratic institutions are under attack from its own Prime Minister Viktor Orban, but you wouldn't know it from President Donald Trump treatment of the authoritarian leader on Monday in the Oval Office.
As the Washington Post explained, the previous two presidents had refused to meet with Orban as "he 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." And while much of Europe is shunning him over his explicitly illiberal turn, promoting the country as a white Christian nation, Trump saw fit to praise Orban from the White House.
"You're respected all over Europe," he said. "Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that's okay. That's okay. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe."
Orban, too, noted their similarities, saying they had both been "tough" on immigration.
Trump also said Orban has been doing a “tremendous job" in his country. He said it was a "great honor” for the prime minister to visit at the White House.
And when reporters pushed Orban on the integrity of democratic institutions in his country, Trump jumped in and cut off the line of questioning, defending the authoritarian leader. He said that they shouldn't have that discussion without acknowledging that Hungary is a member of NATO. Trump didn't mention that even the right-wing pan-European People's Party has suspended Orban because of his extreme actions and violations of the rule of law.
Watch the clip below:
Trump to Hungary's far-right leader Viktor Orbán: "You're respected all over Europe. Probably like me a little bit… https://t.co/Tyc6U8pwGO— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1557772775