Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, often a thorn in the side of his country’s EU allies, publicly declared he’ll be backing Donald Trump to win next year’s U.S. election and make a return to the White House.
Orban served as Hungary’s leader between 1998 and 2002 and returned to the job in 2010. With 17 years under his belt, he is now Europe’s longest-serving prime minister and has become widely regarded as the most pro-Kremlin leader of the 27 nations of the European Union.P
When asked Tuesday if he would like former President Trump to win the next election, he replied, “I hope so.” Speaking at Bloomberg’s Qatar Economic Forum, he was also asked about his views on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2024.
“He is also a very good leader, but I belong to the club of the veterans and the veterans support each other,” Orban said, making it clear his preference for Trump. Orban’s admiration for Trump is not new. When joining Twitter in late 2022, Orban’s first tweet was, “Where is my good friend, Donald Trump.”
During a meeting in the Oval Office in 2019, when Trump was president, both leaders complimented one another, with the Republican president saying: “You’re respected all over Europe. Probably, like me, a little bit controversial. But that’s OK.”
They found common ground over immigration policy, security and what they have described as conservative values. At the same Qatar event on Tuesday, Orban avoided giving criticism of the current U.S. president, Joe Biden.
“It is not my job to criticize the head of the United States. It is not a good business idea, anyway,” he said.
“American Democrats are far more ideologically-led than the Republicans. And the Democrats always like to convince you and sometimes force you how to live — and I don’t like it. We have our own culture … don’t interfere please,” Orban said.
Orban’s opinions are not shared across the European Union. After joining the EU in 2004, Budapest has frequently been at loggerheads with Brussels. The former communist state has often been criticized for looking to assert its influence over courts, the media and other independent institutions.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Monday that he hopes Biden will be reelected, adding that he prefers the current president to Trump while addressing pupils at a primary school near Berlin, according to Reuters.
In addition, officials working for the EU have told CNBC that cooperation with the U.S. has been particularly good during the Biden administration and they are looking to get as much done as possible before U.S. voters head to the polls in 2024.