Viktor Orbán, hard-line Hungarian leader, invited by Trump to Mar-a-Lago

Former President Donald Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Friday at Mar-a-Lago, which quickly drew a strong response from President Joe Biden during his campaign.

The Trump campaign released a statement summarizing the meeting, stating that they had a discussion at Mar-a-Lago about various issues that impact both Hungary and the United States. They emphasized the significance of having strong and secure borders to safeguard the sovereignty of each nation. Additionally, the campaign shared some pictures from the meeting.

Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán has been widely criticized for his efforts to transform Hungary into an “illiberal state” and his resistance to NATO expansion and aid to Ukraine. Critics argue that his actions have undermined democracy in Hungary, including weakening the judiciary and suppressing independent media. Additionally, Orbán has developed strong connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During a campaign reception in Pennsylvania, Biden expressed strong criticism of Trump’s meeting with Orbán. He emphasized that the upcoming November election is fundamentally about the preservation of freedom and democracy.

“You’re aware of who he’s meeting with today down in Mar-a-Lago? It’s Orbán of Hungary, who openly declared his skepticism towards the effectiveness of democracy,” Biden remarked.

“We need to protect democracy, not undermine it,” he emphasized.

Prime Minister Orbán, who has held his position since 2010, recently shared videos on his Instagram account. In these videos, he can be seen alongside former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Orbán paid a visit to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, the day before. The event was not open to the press. Following his appearance, he posted on X, stating, “Our cooperation with the conservative forces of Europe and the U.S. is based on supporting families, combating illegal migration, and defending the sovereignty of our nations.”

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According to Karen Donfried, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Biden administration, Orbán is the type of strong leader that Trump has a fondness for.

Visiting heads of state rarely travel to the U.S. to meet with a political opponent of the president without also meeting top officials at the White House, she observed.

Donfried mentioned that Orbán is eager to enhance an already strong relationship, especially in light of the potential Trump victory in November.

In a recent post on Truth Social, Trump shared a video clip showcasing Orbán’s praise for him during his State of the Nation address. Orbán expressed his desire for Trump to return to the White House. Trump had previously endorsed Orbán in 2022, just months before his successful re-election to a fourth term.

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