Hungary's Orbán urges US to 'call back Trump' to end Ukraine war in Tucker Carlson interview

By Isaac M August 30, 2023

Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, said in a sprawling interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the only path to ending the war in Ukraine would be the reelection of Donald Trump to the presidency.

In the interview, posted Wednesday on Carlson’s page on X, formerly known as Twitter, Orbán praised Trump’s foreign policy while blasting the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and its approach to the war.

He said that Trump’s return to office would be “the only way out” of the conflict, and that any suggestion that Kyiv could win the war against Russia was “a lie.”

“The Russians are far stronger, far more numerous than the Ukrainians,” Orbán said. “Call back Trump. … Trump is the man who can save the Western world.”

The 30-minute video interview, filmed Aug. 21 on the opulent terrace of the prime minister’s office overlooking Budapest, was the second in two years between Carlson and the right-wing leader. While visiting Hungary in 2021, Carlson’s program on Fox News broadcast for a week from the capital, where he praised Orbán’s self-styled “illiberal democracy” — a system that eschews traditional liberal values in favor of conservative Christian rule — as a model for the United States to follow.

Orbán, in office since 2010, has long been criticized for overseeing an increasingly autocratic political system. The European Union, as well as the U.S. State Department and numerous international observers, have alleged that Orbán has rolled back minority rights, seized control of the judiciary and media and manipulated the election system to ensure his hold on power.

Yet in the interview, Orbán slammed the multiple federal indictments of Trump — including for allegedly mishandling classified documents and for attempting to overturn the 2020 election — as a misuse of U.S. state power, something he said was unthinkable in Hungary.

“To use the justice system against the political opponents — in Hungary, I think it’s impossible to imagine,” he said. “That was done by the Communists. It’s a very Communist methodology to do that.”

He also bemoaned efforts by Biden’s State Department to get Hungary’s government to improve its rule-of-law and human rights record, saying that despite Hungary being a NATO member and U.S. ally, “we are worse treated than the Russians. What’s that about?”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Orbán’s government has maintained its close ties with Moscow, and has threatened to block EU sanctions on Russia.

Known as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the EU, Orbán has refused to allow the transfer of Western weapons across Hungary’s shared border with Ukraine, and called for an immediate cease-fire and peace talks in the conflict, but without providing a vision of what that would mean for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Since Carlson’s last visit to Hungary in 2021, he was ousted by Fox News after the network agreed to pay more than $787 million to settle a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems over airing of false claims following the 2020 presidential election.

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