One of the most disturbing and destructive skid marks of Donald Trump's ghastly occupancy of the White House was a foreign policy devoted to alienating America's allies and embracing its enemies. He had a particularly perverse affinity for brutal tyrants such as Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jung Un, whose interests he always seemed to be pursuing.
Now in exile from Washington for the past year, Trump is demonstrating that nothing has changed. He is still in awe of the authoritarians whose unchecked dominance he so envied. On Monday Trump released a statement (via his Twitter ban defying spokes-shill) officially endorsing the Hungarian fuehrer, Viktor Orbán. Trump gushed that…
“Viktor Orbán of Hungary truly loves his Country and wants safety for his people. He has done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming Election. He is a strong leader and respected by all. He has my Complete support and Endorsement for reelection as Prime Minister!”
The reasons Trump gives for his noxious endorsement are chillingly reminiscent of his praise for Putin and other oppressive strongmen. These despots are always portrayed by Trump as loving their country. Presumably it's the same sort of love expressed by the insurrectionists sent by Trump to assault Congress on January 6, 2021. And naturally Trump is approving of the racist immigration policies of Orbán. However, he couldn't be more wrong about the respect that he says Orbán enjoys. Quite the opposite. Orbán has antagonized and estranged his European neighbors.
What's more, according to Human Rights Watch, Hungary's parliament gave Orbán rights that allow him to rule “with unlimited power for an indefinite time.” He has the power now to strike down and/or implement laws by decree. And democratic elections have been suspended.
And if that isn't bad enough, Orbán has consolidated control over the country's judiciary and media. Reporters Without Borders has noted that oligarchs close to Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party control more than 80% of the media in the country, while private media is discriminated against and characterized as publishing “fake news.” No wonder Trump adores him.
It is not surprising, though, that Trump would pay tribute to Orbán. He is very likely taking his queues from Tucker Carlson of Fox News. Last August Carlson made a pilgrimage to Hungary to curtsy obediently before Orbán. Why wouldn't he? The targets of Orbán’s hostility and lies are often the same as those that Trump and Fox News go after. CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on Carlson’s trek to the totalitarian dystopia.
So Trump is once again affirming that he is an anti-democratic, freedom-hating, friend to flagrant fascists. He even said so explicitly during his recent “Sexual Predators Tour” with Bill O'Reilly. Both Trump and O’Reilly had moments wherein they displayed their utter disgust for America. While discussing his record on foreign relations, Trump admitted that the world leaders he “got along best with were tyrants. For whatever reason, I got along great with them.”
“For whatever reason?” We know the reason. It's because they are the people he relates to and most hopes to emulate. God forbid he ever gets another chance to. As the Republican co-chair of the House Select Committee investigating January 6th, Rep. Liz Cheney recently warned: Trump “clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.”
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