A key member of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s delegation as he prepares to speak at the U.S. Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, this weekend, has hit back at claims made by a CNN host who compared Orbán’s recent speech in Tusványos to the messaging adopted by Nazi Germany.
Balázs Orbán, the Hungarian prime minister’s political director, accepted an invitation from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson to respond to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who recently condemned Viktor Orbán for comments made in which he expressed a willingness to preserve Hungary’s cultural heritage. Zakaria urged conservatives at this weekend’s conference to “disinvite” Orbán and “distance themselves” from his “poisonous message.”
Balázs Orbán initially responded to Zakaria by way of an open letter, which he published on his social media channels on Wednesday. In it, he described the CNN host’s condemnation of Orbán’s speech as “yet another example of the Western liberal media’s deliberate efforts to spread misinformation about Hungary,” and urged CNN and other mainstream media organizations who often promote Hungary in a negative light to stop “lecturing and criticizing” others “based on unfounded claims.”
Joining Tucker Carlson on Wednesday evening, Balázs Orbán followed up his defense of his country’s government, an administration that has seen 1 million Ukrainian refugees enter the country since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 while holding firm on illegal economic migrants who attempt to enter the country via its southern border with Serbia.
“Since 2015, 400,000 people have tried to cross our borders illegally, and we made the decision to establish a fence and try to protect our borders and maintain or at least regain law and order,” Orbán told viewers. Because of this policy, he explained, the current Hungarian administration is now “under constant heavy pressure from the globalist elites.
“They think that if someone is speaking against mass migration, that he or she should be racist or antisemitic or whatever. It’s crazy! Our policies are based on common sense,” he hit back.
“Our people are very proud, we are a 1,000-year-old nation. We are in the middle of Europe but culturally, we are an island. We are very proud of our history, of our Judeo-Christian heritage, and we want to preserve it, and to do so, you have to be able to protect your borders,” Orbán explained.
In response to CNN’s criticism of the country’s administration, and in particular, Viktor Orbán’s comments about preserving Hungary’s cultural heritage, Balázs Orbán said that in his view, “these accusations are politically motivated.”
“Meanwhile, the people that are living [in Hungary] are very wise people, and my experience is the same here in the United States. If you speak to ordinary people, they know what is good for their country and they know what they want to reject,” he said
The Hungarian prime minister’s political director continued to explain the difference to CNN, and other left-wing media organizations, between refugees and economic migrants.
“We are neighbors of Ukraine, so currently we are hosting 1 million refugees for Ukraine; some of them are staying, some of them are going forward [to other European nations], but everyone knows that those people are fleeing from war, so there is no problem with that.
“Meanwhile, from the southern border, illegal border crossers from other civilizations, from other parts of the world. They want to cross the country and march through and start a new life somewhere in Europe, and ordinary people can differentiate. They know that on one hand we have to be welcoming to refugees, and we have to say no to illegal border-crossers. It’s so simple!”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson subsequently apologized to Balázs Orbán on behalf of the American media for the depiction by left-wing news outlets of the Hungarian government, describing Zakaria’s hit piece as “shocking.”