Hungary’s Viktor Orban says he is rooting for Trump victory

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s prime minister said Friday that he is rooting for the reelection of U.S President Donald Trump because what he represents “is good for Central Europe.”

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he was in his kitchen when Trump called him Thursday evening and they had a long talk about the pandemic situation in the United States, the U.S. electoral outlook and bilateral issues.

“What the president represents is good for Central Europe, which is why we are rooting — at least me, personally — for him to win the election,” Orban said Friday on state radio.

In July 2016, Orban became the first European national leader to publicly endorse Trump’s presidential candidacy. At the time, Orban, who was elected for a third consecutive term, and fourth overall, in 2018 on the back of a ferocious anti-immigrant campaign, said he preferred Trump because of his anti-terrorism proposals and his opposition to “democracy export.”

The Hungarian government is facing proceedings in the European Union for allegedly undermining the bloc’s democratic values and rule of law, including issues like media freedoms, minority rights, the electoral system and academic and religious freedoms.

Orban also said Friday that it was increasingly common for national leaders to speak informally on the phone and build personal relationships instead of relying on formal diplomatic contacts.

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