Donald Trump's lonely dream of Viktor Orban-like power

US President Donald Trump will welcome Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to the White House for talks on trade energy and cyber security

Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once called Orban "Trump before Trump". And he was one of the first European Union heads of government to congratulate him, nearly euphorically, on his election in November 2016. Some of them may go to the polls later this month and vote for centrist parties precisely because they don't like Trump, they don't like the fact that he's interfering - interfering in European politics.

Even so, it's taken him over two years into Trump's term in office to secure an invitation to the White House.

Trump gave Orban a warm welcome at the White House, where they were planning discussions on European regional issues, NATO, energy and trade. The timing of the meeting was nearly a humiliation. Not too long ago, in 2012 Senator Menendez actually praised Hungary's democracy and politicians of the Orbán government, among them Foreign Minister Martonyi and US Ambassador Szapáry.

Then again, Orban got to hear a cascade of praise from the U.S. president.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Washington.

"Respected all over Europe", Trump said, adding: "Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that's okay. Orban was essentially running a political platform on the basis of an anti-immigration message", said Berschinski, now a senior vice president at Human Rights First. They say the visit is important as Trump seeks to pull Hungary back from recent alignments with Russian Federation, reward members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that increase their commitments to defense, limit China's global reach through 5G networks and sell US weapons overseas.

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Many Republicans have an extremely critical view of Hungary's anti-democratic transformation since 2010, under Orban.

The campaign culminated in a drive to push the illustrious Soros-founded Central European University out of Hungary, a drive that appears on track to succeed. Most disturbingly, despite an extradition request from the United States based on an existing and active bilateral treaty, Hungary rejected the request and sent two arms dealers to their freedom in Moscow. Another issue has been Hungary's blocking of any cooperation between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Ukraine as a reaction to Ukraine's law on languages, which affects the rights of the Hungarian-speaking minority in Ukraine.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, has warned Hungary that "an authoritarian Russian Federation will never be a friend to the freedom and sovereignty of smaller nations". In Orban's case this could mean that Hungary is going to buy USA weapons worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.

Before their meeting, Trump underscored Orban's defense of Christianity. He has seriously damaged his country's democracy for many years, if not decades to come.

"Well, I never did use [it]", the president replied, alluding to Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign.

Orban is considered a brilliant political tactician whose ruthlessness was forged after his Fidesz party lost elections in 2002 and he found himself out of power. But then, when the Trump administration comes in and they try the opposite approach, the situation gets even worse.

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