Former President Donald Trump reportedly appeared by video feed on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest – the first time the event has been staged abroad as the GOP nuzzles up to Hungary’s authoritarian government.
Trump heaped praise on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, according to Rolling Stone. Reports from the event are scarce because event organizers barred many American news outlets from entering.
“He’s a great leader, a great gentleman,” Trump said, adding that Orban “just had a very big election result” in April, when he won a fourth consecutive term as prime minister.
During the campaign, Hungary’s opposition party candidates were given five minutes of time on state television to make their case to voters.
Orban touted his control of the media in his speech to American conservatives on Thursday, telling them that the path to holding power is to “have your own media.”
“It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left,” Orban said, according to The Guardian.
Trump said he was “very honored” to have endorsed Orban during the race.
“A little unusual endorsement. Usually I’m looking at the 50 states but here we went a little bit astray, ”Trump said, per Rolling Stone. “And I did that only because he really is a good man and he has done a fantastic job for his country.”
Orban has used his decade-plus in power to crack down on immigration by stoking racial fears, erase gains in LGBTQ rights, and generally rule by hard-line Christian values.
At CPAC Hungary, one of Orban’s most notorious allies also took the stage alongside Trump, according to The Guardian. Zsolt Bayer, a racist and anti-Semite who once called Jewish people “stinking excrement,” gave an address Friday where he reportedly spoke against gender and racial inclusivity.
Also scheduled to speak were Fox News’ far-right host Tucker Carlson – who spent a week in Hungary broadcasting his show last year – Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows and French anti-immigration leader Marine Le Pen, among others.