Trump Endorses Orban in Run-Up to Closely Watched Hungarian Vote
(Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. President Donald Trump gave an endorsement to Prime Minister Viktor Orban ahead of what’s seen as the most important election in Hungary in more than a decade.
“He is a strong leader and respected by all,” Trump said in an emailed announcement on Monday. “He has my complete support and endorsement for re-election as prime minister.”
Orban endorsed Trump in his successful 2016 run for the White House and again during a second failed attempt in 2020. The Hungarian leader is facing a united opposition for the first time in a general election, which is expected to take place in April, making it the toughest ballot the four-term leader has faced since his return to power in 2010.
While Trump’s support is unlikely to sway voters in Hungary, for Orban it’s validation of his work to cultivate relations with the U.S. Republican Party, especially as a way to push back against criticism from successive Democratic administrations over deepening ties with Russia and China and the erosion of democratic standards.
Orban was the only European Union leader who was not invited by U.S. President Joe Biden for a virtual summit on the state of global democracy last month. In 2019, Hungary became the first EU nation to be rated “partly free” in an annual gauge by Freedom House, a Washington D.C.-based think-tank.
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