US: What’s hidden in the ‘friendly’ meet between Hungary’s Orban and Trump

Orban did not meet any members of the Biden administration during his visit

Trump Orban meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) and former US President and Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump during their meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida | AFP

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban met with his ally and United States former president Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Friday night. The meeting had raised several eyebrows among the world leaders including European nations. 

According to a statement from Trump's campaign, the two discussed a wide range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States. "A wide range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States, including the paramount importance of strong and secure borders to protect the sovereignty of each nation," it said.

Notably, Orban, an autocrat and a strongman who is known for his anti-immigration and anti-LGBTQ policies, did not get any formal invitation from the White House. Orban also did not reach out or meet with any members of the Biden administration during his visit. It acquires significance as Trump is not only the former US president but also the presumptive Republican nominee, who might become the president again. 

According to experts, Orban’s visit gives an idea of where he might align himself with the world leaders if Trump is elected to power. 

Trump in several situations has mentioned how he admires authoritarian leaders like Orban as well. Both Trump and Orban have more or less similar political views on the free press, immigration and the Ukraine war. In some instances, Orban had mentioned that Ukraine war would not have happened if Trump had become the president. 

Regarding the Russia-Ukraine war too, Orban had locked horns with the European Union (EU) members. Be it sending weapons to Ukraine, or maintaining economic ties with Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Orban had raised the issues with the EU officials. 

Orban had said that only the return of Republican candidate Trump to the White House could bring peace to Ukraine. 

"We need leaders in the world who are respected and can bring peace. He is one of them! Come back and bring us peace, Mr. President!," Orban said in a post on X after the meeting. 

“Make America great again, Mr. President!” wrote Orban. 

Orban had also said that during Trump's term, there was peace in the Middle East, referring to the Israel-Hamas war, and also Ukraine. 

Earlier Biden had expressed that the meeting between both Orban and Trump was worrying. On asked whether he was concerned, he said "If I'm not, you should be". 

“You know who he’s meeting with today, down in Mar-a-Lago? Orbán of Hungary, who stated flatly he doesn’t think democracy works — he’s looking for dictatorship,” Biden told the crowd gathered for what was effectively his first rally of the 2024 general election campaign.

“That’s who he’s meeting with,” Biden added. “I see a future where we defend democracy, not diminish it," said Biden. 

Though the Orban-Trump meeting is said to be ‘friendly’, it raises a series of issues for the EU, NATO and other US allies. 

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