Trump praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is a far-right leader who has made anti-Semitic remarks and oversaw an authoritarian crackdown on the press in his country.
There he goes again ...
Trump on Monday praised yet another authoritarian leader who has cracked down on democratic values in his home country.
"You're respected all over Europe," Trump told Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a photo-op in the Oval Office. "Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that's OK, that's OK. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe."
Let's break down what "a little bit controversial" means.
Orban is anti-Semitic, using anti-Semitic tropes against Jewish philanthropist George Soros, and is trying to whitewash Hungary's role in the Holocaust. And Trump welcomed an him as Trump himself is twisting words of Democratic members of Congress to try to accuse them of being anti-Jewish.
Orban has also cracked down on the free press in his country and has demanded funding from the European Union to build a fence between his country and Serbia to "[protect] all the citizens of Europe from the flood of illegal migrants."
Orban's visit has drawn bipartisan condemnation, with members of Congress against the optics of welcoming an authoritarian leader to the White House.
"Prime Minister Orban represents so many things that are antithetical to core American values," reads a letter 10 Democratic members of Congress sent Trump on May 9, urging him not to meet with Orban. "He has overseen a rollback of democracy in his country, used anti-Semitic and xenophobic tropes in his political messaging, and cozied up to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin."
"He also has suppressed independent media and academic freedom in an effort to consolidate his increasingly autocratic rule," the Democratic members of Congress wrote. "It troubles us to see the president of our country, which has historically supported the protection and promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide, meeting with a ban who so regularly disregards these values."
Of course, Trump loves to praise dictatorial strongmen.
That's not to mention Trump's coziness with violent and oppressive North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, whom he has called a friend, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is openly hostile to democratic values and has attacked the United States' bedrock value of free and fair elections.
In Orban, Trump admitted he sees a lot of himself.
And that's a big self-own given that Orban is an anti-Semitic autocrat who wants to tamp down democracy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.