Hungarian PM Viktor Orban receives hero’s welcome at CPAC Texas despite racism controversy

‘Christian politicians can’t be racist’: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban urges U.S. to learn from his election wins, to wage war on liberals and says America needs ‘less drag queens and more Chuck Norris’ in CPAC speech

  • Hungarian PM Viktor Orban addressed the CPAC Texas conference on Thursday
  • He urged conservatives to learn form his anti-immigration, pro-family stance
  • ‘Less drag queens and more Chuck Norris,’ he said of his law and order policies
  • He arrived soon after being accused of racism for saying that he wanted to prevent Hungary becoming a ‘mixed race’ country
  • But he said the right should be uncompromising in its language 
  • ‘Don’t worry, a Christian politician cannot be racist,’ he claimed 

Hardline Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban received a hero’s welcome at a major conservative conference in Texas on Thursday, as he urged the American right to learn from his multiple election successes.

He implored his audience not to pull their punches in a culture war with globalizing liberals.

And he described how Hungarian state institutions defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. 

But he made no mention of the racism controversy that followed him to the U.S., after promised to prevent Hungary becoming a ‘mixed race’ nation.

Instead he said supporters needed to trust their Judeo-Christian tradition and face down criticism from opponents in uncompromising style.

‘We have to be brave enough to address even the most sensitive questions, migration, gender and the clash of civilizations,’ he told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas.

‘Don’t worry, a Christian politician cannot be racist.

‘So we should never hesitate to heavily challenge our opponents on these issues. Be sure Christian values protect us from going too far.’

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was the main attraction on the first day of the conservative CPAC conference in Dallas, Texas. He set out the anti-immigration, law and order, and pro-family policies that have helped him to four election victories

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was the main attraction on the first day of the conservative CPAC conference in Dallas, Texas. He set out the anti-immigration, law and order, and pro-family policies that have helped him to four election victories

A drag queen performs during celebrations for Pride month on June 25, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina

Action hero Chuck Norris as Lone Wolf McQuade

Orban set out his views on family values and law enforcement in stark terms: ‘We decided we don’t need more genders – we need more rangers ‘Less drag queens and more Chuck Norris’

Orban's appearance was controversial soon after being accused of racism and of making light of the Nazi's use of gas chambers in World War Two

Orban’s appearance was controversial soon after being accused of racism and of making light of the Nazi’s use of gas chambers in World War Two

Plenty disagree. His anti-immigration, white nationalist stance coupled with autocratic attitudes to the media and opponents have cast a shadow over eastern Europe, amid questions about whether he is too close to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Yet his multiple election successes make him hugely popular with Trumpist elements of the American right.

He was the headline speaker at the conference on Thursday. Other speakers will include former President Donald Trump, firebrand Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Sean Hannity of Fox News and GOP candidates celebrating primary victories earlier this week. 

Orban’s speech was titled ‘How we fight’ and he described how his pro-family, anti-immigrant agenda had proved popular at home.

‘Politics, my friends is not enough,’ he told his audience. ‘This war is a culture war.’

And he said law enforcement played a key role.

‘Another factor of our success is that my government is devoted to law and order without compromise,’ he said.

‘We decided we don’t need more genders – we need more rangers

‘Less drag queens and more Chuck Norris,’ he said to laughter.

‘We believe we believe there is no freedom without order. If there is no order, you’ll get chaos.’

He also laid out red meat for a conservative crowd, describing how state institutions were obliged to protect the nation’s Christian history. 

‘Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,’ he said. 

‘Family ties shall be based on the marriage or the relationship between parents and children. To sum up: the mother is a woman the father is a man … leave our kids alone. Full stop.’

Orban is a darling of the hardline American right. Last year Tucker Carlson spent a week broadcasting his Fox News show from Hungary, a country which many see as a testbed of hard right conservative policies and where Orban has promoted an explicitly Christian and white nationalist vision.

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon (left) and My Pillow Chief Executive Mike Lindell are both due to speak at CPAC Texas

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon (left) and My Pillow Chief Executive Mike Lindell are both due to speak at CPAC Texas

People buy merchandise related to former U.S. President Donald Trump at a merchant booth during the Conservative Political Action Conference

People buy merchandise related to former U.S. President Donald Trump at a merchant booth during the Conservative Political Action Conference

And they hope to replicate his electoral success after he won a fourth consecutive term in April.  

His presence in Texas was deeply controversial, however, coming soon after a speech in Romania in which he said he wanted to prevent Hungary becoming a ‘mixed race country.’ 

He also appeared to make light of Nazi gas chambers in World War Two while condemning the European Union’s plan plan to reduce gas demand. 

A key adviser quit in response, describing the speech as a ‘pure Nazi text.’

Critics see him as the face of a new authoritarian right and condemn his tight control of the media, while the E.U. has repeatedly taken legal action against Hungary for breaking its rules.

None of that has not diminished his standing with elements of the American right.

Ahead of the CPAC conference, he spent time with Trump at one of his golf resorts on Tuesday.

‘Great spending time with my friend, Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary. We discussed many interesting topics — few people know as much about what is going on today,’ said Trump.

In his speech, Orban claimed solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russia.

He has frequently been criticized for failing to do more to stem Vladimir Putin’s aggression, and on Thursday he urged a negotiated peace. 

‘Without American-Russian talks, there will never be peace in Ukraine,’ he said.

‘More and more people will die and suffer and our economies will come to the brink of collapse. I cannot tell you what to do. Your sovereign decision. 

‘I can however tell you one thing: Only strong leaders are able to make peace.’

The line drew sustained applause.

The presence of very visible Trump supporters showed how the former president has a tight grip on CPAC. He is due to close proceedings in Dallas on Saturday evening

The presence of very visible Trump supporters showed how the former president has a tight grip on CPAC. He is due to close proceedings in Dallas on Saturday evening

Ede Vessey, 73, a retired structural engineer who moved to the U.S. from Hungary in 1984, said there were three main areas of agreement between Orban and the American right.

‘They have overlapping ideas,’ he said. ‘One of them is securing the border  and trying to stop the illegal immigration while allowing legal immigration from Ukraine.

‘Everybody knows the problem with the southern border here in the U.S. which is more or less open.’

In addition, he said the Hungarian government promoted the ideal of a stable family unit – with support for housing and child care for couples – and its adherence to Judeo-Christian values. 

For veteran conservative commentator Jeffrey Lord the appeal lies in Oban and Hungary’s position between East and West.

‘He’s a big believer in freedom and democracy,’ he said.

‘And he’s on the front line in doing this, and it was a lot of things that we take for granted here in America in terms of our democratic process, and when you got somebody that’s really out there fighting … that’s a big deal.’

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