Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban repeatedly earned cheers from the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas on Thursday, calling the current political landscape an existential battle for the survival of “family values.” He also urged conservatives to “play by your own rules.”
Throughout his half-hour speech, the far-right Hungarian leader touched on migration, news media, gender, progressive philanthropist George Soros and what he termed the “clash of civilizations” ― echoing a roundly condemned speech he delivered last month decrying “peoples of mixed race.”
Zsuzsa Hegedus, an adviser to Orban for two decades, resigned days after the racial comment that she described as “pure Nazi text worthy of [Nazi propagandist Joseph] Goebbels,” CNN reported. While speaking from the podium to the Dallas crowd Thursday, Orban seemingly addressed these criticisms.
“Don’t worry. A Christian politician cannot be racist,” he said.
CPAC attendees gave him a standing ovation in an apparent embrace of authoritarianism.
Orban claimed that “Christian values protect us from going too far,” but warned that Democrats and their supporters do “not know any limitations,” and could be equated to communists.
“My answer is: Play by your own rules. But how do you do that? It is as simple as it sounds. You must play to win,” Orban said. “You have to believe that you are better than your left, liberal opponents are.”
He joked that CPAC organizers had “confused” the “leftist media” by inviting him to speak, adding that anyone who criticized his policies or past comments as racist or anti-Semitic were “simply idiots” ― a line that earned him more applause.
The Trump ally is a familiar face at CPAC, having addressed the crowd at an offshoot event held in Hungary back in May, where he praised Christian conservatives in the media and suggested they join forces around the world.
Orban, who has worked to consolidate power in Hungary, was elected for a fourth consecutive term as the nation’s leader in an April election he reportedly rigged in his favor. In Hungary, the vast majority of news aired in the country comes from the government. Orban’s leadership has been characterized by a strong hostility to LGBTQ rights and immigrants, who he once described as “poison” and “Muslim invaders.”
Orban concluded his remarks at CPAC by offering a comparison of the political landscape of 2022 to that of mid-20th century Europe, with progressives framed as the enemy and “the future of the West” in “grave doubt.”
He added: “The ideological wars of the 20th century against the totalitarian powers of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were terrible, but [the] democratic West rallied and defeated them both. Now, the West is at war with itself.”
He even referenced the famed Davy Crockett line, by adding: “The globalists can all go to hell. I have come to Texas.”