Trump hails 'fantastic' Viktor Orban as Hungarian dictator meets and hosts concert at Mar-a-Lago

Emin Sansar/Anatolu/Getty Images

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends ADF talks in Antalya, Turkey on March 1, 2024.



CNN

Donald Trump Viktor Orbán praised Orban while hosting the Hungarian prime minister at Mar-a-Lago on Friday night.

“There is no better, smarter or better leader than Viktor Orbán. He is amazing,” the former president told a crowd gathered for a concert at a Florida resort, as shown in a series of videos posted on Orbán's Instagram account.

Trump added that the European dictator is “a controversial figure because he said, 'This is the way it's going to be,' and that's the end, right? He's the boss and … he's a great leader, a wonderful leader. In Europe and around the world, they respect him.”

Trump called the visit “an honor” and seemed to indicate the two would stay in touch by saying they “stayed in touch” after he leaves the White House in 2021.

The meeting and subsequent praise underscored Trump's history Embraced the global powers that be — and sometimes at the expense of traditional US allies.

The former president and a small group of close advisers met with Orbán for about an hour Friday night, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, in what one source described as a “social meeting” with no agenda. A separate source called it “friendly”.

Trump, according to his campaign, met with Orban “to discuss a range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States, including the critical importance of strong and secure borders to protect the sovereignty of each nation.”

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Orbán, a fourth source told CNN, had sought to meet with Trump and planned to be in the United States separately.

Later, Trump took her to a tribute concert, part of a “members-only” event at the club, featuring The Beatles and Rolling Stones tribute bands, the Palm Beach Symphony.

In a clip posted on social media, Orphan is seen in concert — billed as “Orchestral Elegance Meets Rock Legends” — as Roy Orbson played “Oh, Pretty Girl” with former first lady Melania Trump holding a large bouquet of flowers.

A Biden administration official confirmed to CNN that the White House has not extended an invitation to meet with the authoritarian leader. President Joe BidenAnd Orban did not request a White House meeting during his trip to the US this week.

Earlier in the day, Biden suggested a meeting between the Hungarian strongman and Trump, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, was worrisome.

Asked if he was worried about the Mar-a-Lago talks, Biden said: “If I'm not, you should be” — suggesting it was natural for him to be worried by the meeting between Orbán and Trump.

Orban's far-right populism, strident anti-immigration rhetoric, Christian nationalism and hostility to LGBTQ rights have made him a popular ideological model for Trump's “Make America Great Again” followers. He has Spoken In the past, the Conservative Political Action Conference — an annual gathering of pro-Trump forces — and Hungary will host another edition of CPAC's foreign conferences next month.

The Biden administration has largely declined to comment on Orban's meetings with Trump, but the president captured during the visit During remarks Friday evening in the crucial 2024 battleground state of Pennsylvania.

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“You know who he's meeting today at Mar-a-Lago? Hungary's Orbán doesn't think democracy works — he's looking for dictatorship,” Biden told a crowd gathered for his first rally of the 2024 general election campaign.

“That's who he meets,” Biden added. “I see a future where we preserve democracy, not curtail it.”

This article and story has been updated with additional details.

CNN's Kevin Lipdock, Betsy Klein, Michael Williams and Kanita Iyer contributed to this report.

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