Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called on conservative political activists in Dallas on Thursday to join him and his European supporters in defeating progressive liberalism.
Mr. Orbán, who addressed crowds as a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas, said he wanted to “unite forces” with American conservatives against progressives because “we Hungarians know how to defeat the enemies of freedom on the political battlefield.”
“We Hungarians defeated communism, which was forced on us by Soviet troops and arms,” Mr. Orbán said. “It took a while. We began our fight in 1956 and won in 1990. But we did it, our fathers fired the first shot. And we, their sons, won the war. We know what we have Ronald Reagan to thank for.”
Mr. Orbán won a fourth consecutive term in a landslide election in April and has become known for his right-wing, pro-Christian social policy stances and push for stringent laws against illegal migration. Prior to arriving at CPAC, he stopped to visit former President Donald Trump at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Although Hungary is a member of NATO, Mr. Orbán opposed sending weapons to Ukraine and derailed EU unanimity on sanctioning Russian energy.
“What we like about him is that he’s actually standing up for the freedom of his people against the tyranny of the EU,” CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp told The Associated Press. “He’s captured the attention of a lot of people, including a lot of people in America who are worried about the decline of the family.”
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Mr. Orbán, who has held power in Hungary since 2010, suggested it is also important to win on social issues and said conservative Americans must rely on “Judeo-Christian teachings.”
“First and foremost, we need to trust our Judeo-Christian teachings — they help us decide what actions are right, and what actions are wrong,” he said. “If you believe in God, you also believe that we humans were created in God’s image. Therefore, we have to be brave enough to address even the most sensitive questions on migration, gender, and the clash of civilizations.”
However, he was recently criticized over a speech he delivered arguing that Europeans should not “become peoples of mixed race.”
Although Mr. Orbán did not directly address those previous comments that caused a political backlash, he said in his speech on Thursday that he could already predict the headlines in the media regarding his appearance at the Conservative conference.
“I can already see tomorrow’s headlines: ‘Far Right, European racist and antisemite strongman, the Trojan horse of Putin gives speech at conservative conference.’”
He said, “But I don’t want to give them any ideas. They know best how to write fake news. Instead, I will tell you the truth. In Hungary, we introduced a zero-tolerance policy on racism and antisemitism. So accusing us is fake news. And those who make these claims are simply idiots.”
• Kerry Picket can be reached at email@example.com.
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