By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
“You know, it’s by itself, it’s a personal insult for all the Hungarians, Orbán said about the remark while speaking on Fox News television.
Orbán has faced international criticism over his harsh migration policies and moves to put the judiciary, non-governmental organizations, media, and academics under more state control.
But speaking on Fox News television, the prime minister said Biden has “limited knowledge” of his country, and therefore cannot understand the issues facing the Central European nation.
During a town hall in 2020, Biden accused then-President Donald Trump of befriending “all the thugs in the world,” saying: “You see what’s happening from Belarus through Poland and Hungary and the rise of totalitarian regimes in the world,” Biden said at the time. “Our current president supports all the thugs in the world.”
Biden’s 2020 opponent, Trump, was notably close with Orbán. And the left-leaning Brookings Institution claimed that the then-president’s hosting of Poland’s Andrzej Duda was helping him in his reelection bid against a left-leaning Warsaw mayor.
Orbán was the first European Union leader to endorse Trump’s reelection bid, while Trump praised his border security and counterterrorism policies.
During the lengthy interview, Orbán said he wasn’t surprised that Biden grouped him with autocratic strongmen Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Biden, Orbán stressed, doesn’t know anything about the issues facing Hungary. “Somebody who does not speak our language has a very limited knowledge of Hungary,” Orban exclaimed.
He spoke to Fox News’ host Tucker Carlson, a guest of honor at a controversial conservative nationalist festival in Hungary. But the government angrily denied reports that it paid for the interview.
Carlson was, however, flown in a military helicopter to Hungary’s 175 kilometers (109-mile) high-tech, high-cost razor-wire border fence with Serbia this week.
The Fox News host praised the fence for being so “clean and orderly,” in contrast to the “chaos” on the US-Mexican border. He told those watching Tucker Carlson Tonight: “It doesn’t require a GDP the size of the U.S. It doesn’t require high-tech walls, guns, or surveillance equipment. All it requires is the will to do it.”
And he praised Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán for not allowing “this nation of 10 million people to be changed forever by people we didn’t invite in and who are coming here illegally”.
He contrasted Orbán’s policies with those of U.S. President Biden. “Because the lessons are so obvious, and such a clear refutation to the policies we currently have, and the people who instituted those policies, Hungary and its government have been ruthlessly attacked and unfairly attacked: ‘It’s authoritarian, they’re fascists….’ There are many lies being told right now that may be the greatest of all.”
Carlson is attending a three-day festival organized by the Matthias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) in Esztergom, the former Hungarian capital and home of the Roman Catholic Church.
MCC is a government-funded school for top students, whom Orbán’s Fidesz government is preparing to become the country’s new right-wing elite. Both Carlson and Orbán were due to address crowds from the main festival stage over the weekend.
Carlson’s visit comes at a crucial moment for Orban. After 11 years in almost unchallenged power, he faces a fierce battle for re-election in eight months, against an unusually united opposition, from left to right.
The opposition has accused him of hijacking Hungarian democracy and financially favoring his oligarchs and loyalists.
Orbán faces allegations of using Pegasus spyware from the Israel-based company NSO to monitor phones and mine the personal data of up to 300 independent journalists, lawyers, and business people not linked with his Fidesz party.
The EU’s executive European Commission has suspended the disbursement of post-COVID recovery funds, citing insufficient safeguards against corruption. Nordic governments have also postponed funds to non-governmental organizations after disagreeing with Hungary’s government over who should disburse them.
However, in the Fox News interview aired Thursday, Orbán claimed
left-wing politicians, including U.S. President Biden, cannot accept a nationalistic or conservative alternative ideology.
“The Western liberals cannot accept that inside the Western civilization, there is a conservative national alternative which is more successful at everyday life, at the level of them — the liberal ones,” he complained. “That’s the reason why they criticize us. They are fighting for themselves, not against us,” Orban said.
“But we are an example that a country which is based on traditional values, on national identity, on the tradition of Christianity can be successful – sometimes more successful than a leftist-liberal government.”
He stressed that Biden and the Democratic Party could not accept Hungary’s success in protecting its borders with Serbia and Croatia against an influx of mainly Muslim migrants.
In the U.S. Congress, several top Democrats criticized Orban for alleged “xenophobic language” and unacceptable closeness to Russia.
Orbán countered there is nothing hateful or xenophobic about a robust national defense and secure borders: “[National sovereignty] is coming from God and nature. All begins with us. This is our country. This is our population. This is our history, our language. We have to [secure our borders]. Of course, if you’re in trouble and there’s nobody closer to you than the Hungarians, you have to be helpful,” he said.
“But you can’t say, okay, it’s a nice country. I would like to come and live here because it’s a nicer life, it is not a human right to come here. No way. It’s our land. It’s a nation, a community, family, history, tradition, language.”
Carlson noted that the U.S. and other Western governments that ostracized
Orbán and Hungary are doing the opposite of what they once did when he was a young activist speaking out against Soviet occupation in the 1980s.
The Fox News host argued that Orbán has not changed since.
However, support for conservative governments like his has “starkly transitioned from universal support to being dubbed a “totalitarian” thug by the United States’ leader,” he added.
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