U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in the Oval Office on May 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Trump gave Orban a warm welcome at the White House, where they were planning discussions on European regional issues, NATO, energy and trade. Trump certainly sees Orban as an ideological ally.
"The Hungarian government fails to respect the rule of law and human rights", Human Rights Watch writes in its current country profile of Hungary. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., complained that Hungary has failed to diversify its energy resources away from Russian Federation and has allowed Moscow to exploit its visa system to evade USA sanctions.
Yoo said Trump's actions warrant impeachment.
But the visit is raising questions about which leaders Trump is looking to cultivate - including a long list of global strongmen - at the expense of more traditional United States allies. "And you look at some of the problems that they have in Europe that are tremendous because they've done it a different way than the Prime Minister". "Highly respected. Respected all over Europe". And I know he's a tough man, but he's a respected man.
"Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that's OK, that's OK". His visit Monday comes only after Trump met with the leaders of the other three former communist states in the Visegrad region - Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Amnesty International has condemned Hungary for its "systematic crackdown on the rights of refugees and migrants" in recent years. President Donald Trump speaks about a state of emergency from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., February 15, 2019.
Trump plans to meet with Putin and Xi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Japan in June.
Like Trump, right-wing Orban has taken a hard line against migration. Sens. James Risch, R-Idaho, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said that under Orban, elections have become less competitive, the judiciary is increasingly controlled by the state and press freedom has declined.
Critics of Orban say he peddles anti-Semitic tropes in his attacks on George Soros, the Hungarian Jewish billionaire and liberal donor, and that his government has distorted Holocaust history by seeking to shift full blame for the fate of Hungarian Jews on Germany. Hungary's prime minister had to settle for last place.
George Conway, another conservative lawyer called Trump "cancer on the presidency", taking a cue from the White House Counsel John Dean's warning to Nixon during Watergate.
The timing of the meeting, less than two weeks ahead of European elections in which Orban and his Fidesz party are becoming a thorny issue, raised some eyebrows in Europe.
"Well, I never did use [it]", the president replied, alluding to Russia's meddling in the 2016 campaign. "I don't need it". "All I need is the opponents that I'm looking at".