Thursday , October 6 2022
CPAC hosted Viktor Orban, unmoved by his ‘mixed-race’ enmity.

CPAC hosted Viktor Orban, unmoved by his ‘mixed-race’ enmity.

Mr. Orban has a long history of airing such contempt and his antagonism — toward immigrants, the news media, democratic norms and “wokeness” — has generally aided in cementing his favorite status with American conservatives, who have frequently provided him with a far-reaching platform that has boosted his profile. Among them is Tucker Carlson, the Fox News commentator, who traveled to Hungary for a feature on the prime minister. In May, CPAC hosted a conference there.

Mr. Orban, 59, was speaking in Baile Tusnad in Romania, a majority ethnic Hungarian city, in July when he assailed countries in Europe that have large numbers of immigrants, striking a contrast with his hard-line policies against open borders.

“These countries are no longer nations: They are nothing more than a conglomeration of peoples,” Mr. Orban said, according to a translation from The Associated Press.

He spoke of a divided Europe where immigrants are changing the character of “our world.”

“We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” Mr. Orban said. “Migration has split Europe in two — or I could say that it has split the West in two.”

Criticism of Mr. Orban’s comments was swift.

Zsuzsa Hegedus, a confidante of Mr. Orban’s, in a July 26 resignation letter published in the Hungarian news media, wrote that not even the most “bloodthirsty racist” could condone Mr. Orban’s rhetoric. She compared Mr. Orban’s message to themes used by the Nazis in Germany, including Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda chief for Adolf Hitler.

“I don’t know how you didn’t notice that you were presenting a pure Nazi text worthy of Goebbels,” she wrote.

Deborah E. Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, echoed Ms. Hegedus one day later on her official Twitter account, calling Mr. Orban’s assessment alarming.

“Nearly 75 years after the end of the Holocaust, it is inexcusable for a leader to make light of Nazi mass murder, especially one who claims zero tolerance of antisemitism,” Ms. Lipstadt wrote.

Leaders of CPAC, an influential right-wing group best known for hosting prominent Republicans and aspiring presidential candidates at its regular conferences, resisted calls to disinvite Mr. Orban. Alex Pfeiffer, a spokesman for CPAC, defended Mr. Orban’s presence at the gathering, saying in a statement before his speech that the group supports “the open exchange of ideas.” He called Mr. Orban a “popular leader in his fourth successive term.”

Matt Schlapp, the CPAC chairman, recently told Bloomberg, “Let’s listen to the man speak.”

Mr. Orban’s latest audience with leaders of the political right in America comes as Republicans are girding for the midterm elections, in which they hope to win control of the Senate and House. Republicans have so far nominated a string of candidates who have disputed the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and who could affect the outcome of the next one.

Mr. Orban, who points out that he has won free and fair elections in order to justify what he calls “illiberal democracy,” has also used the power of his office to shape the contours of elections more to his liking.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump welcomed Mr. Orban to his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., where the two posed for photographs. It was an audacious reunion between the former American president and Mr. Orban, whom Mr. Bannon, a former top Trump adviser, once called “Trump before Trump.”



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