Trump praises 'terrific' Viktor Orban as he hosts Hungarian autocrat at Mar-a-Lago for meeting and concert

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the ADF talks in Antalya, Turkey, on March 1, 2024.



CNN

Donald Trump He praised Viktor Orban as he hosted the Hungarian Prime Minister at Mar-a-Lago on Friday evening.

“There is no one better, smarter or a better leader than Viktor Orban. He is amazing,” the former president told a crowd gathered for a concert at a Florida resort, as shown in a series of videos posted on Orban’s Instagram account.

Trump added that the European autocrat “is a non-controversial figure because he said, 'This is the way it's going to be,' and that's the end of it, right? He's the president and… he's a great leader, a great leader. They respect him in Europe and all over the world.” around the world”.

Trump called the visit an “honor” and appeared to indicate the couple remained in touch after he left the White House in 2021, saying they “stayed in touch.”

The meeting and subsequent admiration underscores Trump's history Embrace the global powerful – Sometimes at the expense of traditional US allies.

The former president and a small group of close advisers met with Orban for about an hour on Friday night, with one source describing it as a “social meeting” with no agenda, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. A separate source described it as “cordial.”

According to a statement from his campaign, Trump met with Orban “to discuss a broad range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States, including the critical importance of strong, secure borders to protect each nation’s sovereignty.”

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A fourth source told CNN that Orban had sought to meet with Trump and was planning to be in the United States separately.

Trump then took him to a tribute concert that was part of a “members-only” event at the club, featuring the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, along with the Palm Beach Symphony.

In one clip posted on social media, Urban can be seen at the concert — described as “orchestral elegance meets rock legends” — presenting former First Lady Melania Trump with a large bouquet of flowers while the band played Roy’s “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Orbison.

A Biden administration official confirmed to CNN that the White House had not invited the authoritarian leader to meet President Joe BidenOrban did not request a meeting at the White House during his trip to the United States this week.

Biden noted earlier in the day that the meeting between the Hungarian strongman and Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, was troubling.

When asked if he was concerned about the Mar-a-Lago talks, Biden said: “If I'm not worried, you should be” – suggesting that it was normal for him to be upset by the meeting between Orban and Trump.

Orban's far-right populism, violent anti-immigration rhetoric, Christian nationalism, and hostility to gay rights have made him a popular ideological role model for Trump followers who call for “Make America Great Again.” He has it to speak In the past, at the Conservative Political Action Conference — an annual gathering of pro-Trump forces — Hungary will host another edition of the CPAC outdoors next month.

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The Biden administration has mostly declined to comment on Orban's meetings with Trump, but Pres Captured on visit During his remarks Friday evening in the crucial 2024 battleground state of Pennsylvania.

“Do you know who he's meeting today at Mar-a-Lago? Hungary's Orban, who has stated flatly that he doesn't think democracy works — he's looking for dictatorship,” Biden told the crowd gathered at what was effectively his first rally of the 2024 general election campaign.

“This is the person he's meeting with,” Biden added. “I see a future in which we defend democracy, not diminish it.”

This headline and story have been updated with additional details.

CNN's Kevin Liptak, Betsy Cline, Michael Williams and Kanita Iyer contributed to this report.

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