By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News, reporting from Budapest, Hungary
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Hungary’s hardline right-wing prime minister told a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that liberalism is a “virus” just hours after protesting students were tear-gassed near his office.
Speaking Thursday, he said Hungary would never have made it to the front pages without the efforts of Hungarian-born liberal billionaire George Soros.
He accused Soros-funded non-governmental organizations and other liberals of pushing through mass migration, the “woke culture,” and the transgender and LGBTQ+ agenda.
Orbán, who once received a scholarship from Soros but now views him as Hungary’s enemy, said his country became “world famous” for fighting these liberal causes.
The prime minister, known for promoting an “illiberal democracy,” cited the Hungarian government’s anti-migration stance, Christian family values, and cultural policies as reasons liberals don’t like him.
Orbán, who was often interrupted by applause or sighs of approval, spoke Thursday after thousands of students marched against plans to increase teacher’s workload and take away their public servant status.
A proposed “status law,” seen as a “revenge law” by critics, follows year-long protests by teachers demanding more freedom in education and higher salaries that saw some being fired.
Late Wednesday, students were tear-gassed, some in their eyes, by riot police for trying to get closer to the prime minister’s office in a former Carmelite Monastery in the Buda Castle area.
At CPAC, Orbán did not mention the protests, focusing instead on his “conservative achievements” despite Hungary suffering inflation of over 25 percent, the highest in Europe.
“No migration, no gender, no war,” Orban said, urging his American and international audience to focus on these issues in their own countries
Under his government, media and schools are banned from informing minors about homosexuality, transgender, or other LGBTQ+ themes.
While condemned by the European Union, Orbán defended the legislation. He made clear that “conservatives in upcoming elections should take over the liberal bastions” Brussels and Washington.
He called Hungary the “antiviral” medicine against the “virus of liberalism,” which he said causes the “woke movement and gender ideology.” They “are exactly what Communism and Marxism used to be,” Orbán stressed. “They artificially cut the nation into minorities to spark strife among the groups.”
He added that “Hungary is an incubator where experiments are done on the future of conservative policies. Hungary is where we didn’t just talk about defeating the progressives and liberals and causing a conservative Christian political turn, but we actually did it.”
ORBAN WANTS TRUMP
Orbán urged former U.S. President Donald J. Trump to return to the White House as he shares many of his views. The prime minister also claimed that “if President Trump were president now, there would be no war affecting Ukraine and Europe today.”
Therefore, “Come back, Mr. President, make America great again, and bring us peace!” he said to vigorous applause from the audience.
The two-day CPAC conference featured segments titled “Make Kids Not War” and “No Country for Woke Men.”
A sign over the entrance to the venue, a conference hall on the Danube River, read, “No Woke Zone.”
Like last year, international journalists were not allowed to cover the event. A Worthy News reporter remains on a government-backed “Soros blacklist” after writing about issues such as corruption and ongoing antisemitism in Hungary.
CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp said that CPAC in the U.S. had decided to “go Hungarian” in their approach to the media.
They decide for themselves “who is a journalist and who is not a journalist” when determining which outlets to allow into their events, he explained.
Orbán has faced EU pressure after his government closed or took over previously independent media since he came to power in 2010.
Several reporters have also extensively been monitored by the country’s intelligence services, Worthy News, and other investigative journalists established.
More welcome at the event was recently fired Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson who had apparently recorded his video message before his dismissal. “I wish I was there in Budapest,” Carlson said. “If I ever get fired and have some time and can leave, I will be there with you. But in the meantime, Godspeed.”
It wasn’t clear if and when he will join CPAC soon. This was the second CPAC conference in Budapest following last year’s event in Hungary’s capital.
Yet U.S. ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, accused Orbán’s government of using CPAC to deal with “fake problems.”
He noticed that while thousands are dying in wartorn neighboring Ukraine, Orbán deals with an alleged liberal virus while his foreign minister visited Russia five times since its invasion of Ukraine to talk about energy.
Orbán has defended his stance on Ukraine, including his refusal to send weapons to Kyiv while continuing energy cooperation with Russia. “If you oppose the war, you are immediately seen as a vehicle of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Orbán complained.
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