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Cozy Visit With Far-Right Autocrat Denounced as Trump Praises "Tremendous Job" of Hungary's Viktor Orban

"Donald Trump is giving tacit approval for his racist, misogynist, 'soft fascism,'" says Sen. Markey

Orban, Trump

President Donald Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the White House Monday. (Photo: YouTube/screenshot)

President Donald Trump welcomed far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the White House Monday, drawing outrage from progressive quarters.

"By meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán today," said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), "Donald Trump is giving tacit approval for his racist, misogynist, 'soft fascism.'"

Orbán, as the New York Times reported, "was, in July 2016, the first foreign leader to endorse Mr. Trump's candidacy for the presidency," and is "a doyen of right-wing nationalists on multiple continents."

He's also "rolled back democratic checks on his power, mused about creating a European ethnostate, and erected a razor-wire fence to keep migrants out,"as CNN noted.

The visit—Orbán's first to the White House in over 20 years—is in line with Trump's "preference for meeting with authoritarian leaders over Washington's traditional Western allies," as Agence France-Presse noted.

Sitting next to Orbán, Trump said the Hungarian leader "has done a tremendous job in so many different ways" and is "respected all over Europe." Recent polling, however, shows Hungary's image within Europe is tanking.

"Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that's okay," said Trump.

Orbán, for his part, said, "I would like to express that we are proud to stand together with United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism, and to protect and help Christian communities all around the world."

Among those criticizing the chummy visit was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). "The job of the President of the United States should be to stand up for democratic values, not embrace leaders who reject them."

A group of Democratic lawmakers last week called on Trump to cancel the visit.

In a letter to the president, led by Reps. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of the Congressional Hungarian Caucus, the lawmakers pointed to Orban's "rollback of democracy in his country," and "anti-Semitic and xenophobic tropes in his political messaging," as well as his suppression of "independent media and academic freedom in an effort to consolidate his increasingly autocratic rule."

Other social media users criticized the visit as well:

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