Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán praises Sulyok for his ‘calm’, hails Trump as ‘president of peace’

Viktor Orbán, in an interview, has praised Hungary's newly installed president, Tamas Sulyok, as someone "stable and predictable" who "can give us all peace of mind". In the interview to public media on Sunday, the prime minister also called Donald Trump "the president of peace".

Sulyok, who was inaugurated on Sunday, is the republic’s 7th head of state.

Orbán said that having worked with seven Hungarian heads, he had a good idea of “what kind of president is right for which situation”.

Following the “troubled” situation surrounding Sulyok’s predecessor, there was now a need for a president “who is stable, calm, predictable [and] well-known”, Orbán said, adding that the new president would best serve Hungary’s interests as his expertise and authority as the former head of the Constitutional Court were “beyond dispute”.

The prime minister noted that the opposition could have come forward with their own nomination for the president of the republic, “but they did not take advantage of this opportunity”.

Sulyok, he added, had been chosen by Hungarian MPs; and as lawmakers were elected by the people, “the president is elected by the people”.

Orbán called Sulyok “a deeply religious, Catholic man” who disregarded “vanity” and saw his post as a service to his country.

Meanwhile, commenting on his recent visit to Florida, he said he had travelled to the US primarily in response to an invitation by Donald Trump, the former US president.

He called US-Hungary political ties “especially bad today”, and the purpose of his visit was to restore relations between allies.

“This won’t work with the current US administration,” he said, characterising the Washington government as “pro-war”. “We are a pro-peace government,” he added.

Trump, however, was “the president of peace”, Orbán declared, adding that the former president had “ended wars in his first four years” as well as being “the first president in a long time not to start a war”.

Trump, he added, had made clear that he wanted the war in Ukraine to end and for peace to be established. “I don’t see anyone else as determined and strong as Donald Trump.”

Orbán said the US administration wanted to stop migration, “but they don’t know how”. The current president “doesn’t want to”, but even Trump “had a hard time” doing so when it tried. “We have a fence protected by police and soldiers; they in the United States would also like one because illegal immigrants are coming in by the millions,” Orbán said.

He said Hungary earned respect in America for upholding family values “while everyone in Western Europe is talking about LGBTQ nonsense”.

“We are doing better in terms of recognition and authority you’d think,” Orbán said, adding that he had met every US president in person since George Bush Sr, if not elsewhere, then regularly at NATO summits.

The prime minister said the Republicans understood that this was a difficult period for US-Hungarian relations, because the US government had expectations of Hungary that “we do not want to and cannot fulfil”.

Among these, he mentioned that America wanted Hungary to join the war, to declare that migration was welcome on the proviso it were well-managed, and that “we should support LGBTQ-rights and this whole messed-up, motley system of coexistence”.

The current US administration, he said, had come to the conclusion that “they cannot get on with” the Hungarian government, so the only solution was to replace it. He accused the US government of openly giving money to Hungary’s left-wing opposition, journalists, media and civil organisations to achieve a change of government. “Of course, this damages relations; we are allies, not servants,” Orbán said.

The Biden administration and the EU and the leaders of the biggest EU member states “are birds of a feather: they are all pro-war governments. Donald Trump and Hungary are pro-peace, this is the difference at the bottom of everything.”

Trump, Orbán said, had “a clear idea, which is hard to disagree with: he will not give a single cent for the Ukraine war, so the war will end.”

Orbán said it was not easy for Hungary either to raise the money that is spent today on security and armaments, but it must be acknowledged that the period of rearmament had come in Europe and the Americans would “not pay our security bills”.

Every European country must do its part, financially as well, and must have its own army and equipment, and “we must be able to defend our own country, or contribute to common military capabilities in an alliance”, he said. Money spent on the army today could be spent elsewhere, he said, but the Ukraine war had shown that “you can no longer be lazy”.

Orbán said it was a big help that Donald Trump’s wife is of Slovenian origin, because her husband had better knowledge of this region than other presidents before him.

With Trump, Orbán said, “what you see is what you get”. The special thing about Trump, he added, was that “he was a legend” even before his presidency.

On the subject of the US election campaign, Orbán said the plan to stop someone from running belonged in a dictatorship’s toolbox, “which is not worthy of US democracy”. In his experience, “you can only win if you suffer for it”, and Trump “is suffering like a dog”, because what he has to go through is unprecedented.

Orbán said that he was sure, however, that he who has to face the possibility of a prison sentence, being tried in court, having his wealth confiscated, excluded from running for president — and yet fought and ran in the race — would win in the end, “like the heroes of Hungarian folklore”.

Donald Trump’s election would mean much for the economy as well, Orbán said, noting that US investments in Hungary were worth 9 billion euros, and a similar value of bilateral trade. “Hungary has three billion euros worth of profit on this. But the fact that the current US administration has terminated its double tax treaty and has not adopted a new one is a major impediment to strengthening relations,” he said.

Orbán said it was a realistic goal to double the bilateral trade of nine billion euros. It would mean a lot for the Hungarian economy if a friendly United States considered Hungary a priority economic and investment destination.

It would be “bad” if Joe Biden won, he added.

Concluding the interview, Orbán also noted that Hungary’s role as a bridge between East and West was a major issued at the presentation in Washington, DC.

Currently, German investments in Hungary are worth 25 billion euros, US and Chinese investments 9 billion each, while South Korea has 6 billion invested. Today, Chinese and US investments are in balance, he said, but the Chinese were growing while American investments were “stuck”, so the United States, if they wanted to keep up with China, would have to increase their investments in Hungary, Orbán said.

Orbán said he saw an opportunity for Trump to conclude a trade agreement with China after his election. And it would be good for Hungary if German, Chinese, South Korean and American capital could cooperate within the country, and the prosperity of Hungarians would increase as a result, he added.

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