Orban addresses a conservative conference in Texas, setting the stage for Trump’s speech this weekend

The right-wing European leader struck guaranteed applause – including telling the Texas crowd that ‘Hungary is the lonely state of Europe’ – and slamming liberals, the media and the Democratic Party.

Trump, who weighs in when announcing his third scheduled race for the Republican presidential nomination, will deliver the final address at the multi-day CPAC Texas, an offshoot of the annual conservative political action conference. The confab began on Thursday and is organized by the Union of American Conservatives.
Others scheduled to appear in Dallas include Republican lawmakers and GOP candidates in the upcoming midterm elections.
CPAC and its organizers remain friends with Trump, and conservative activist attendees have overwhelmingly supported his political future. He has easily won informal polls held at events like this since leaving office, including CPAC 2022 in February and CPAC Texas 2021 last summer.
Yet Trump’s speech comes as his standing in the broader GOP is strong but slightly diminished. Months of spotty results for his favorite candidates in the Republican primaries have shown small cracks in his otherwise overwhelming loyalty among GOP voters. And the summer’s televised hearings by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol highlighted the public record against Trump’s actions before and during the riot.
Since then, Trump has seen others emerge as potential rivals for the Republican nomination in 2024, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Neither DeSantis nor Pence will speak this week, but other potential GOP presidential candidates are expected to appear, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for a third term in November, and the Senses. Ted Cruz from Texas and Rick Scott from Florida.
Also in attendance will be several Republican candidates for the November midterm ballot, including Senate candidate JD Vance of Ohio, gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake of Arizona and Tudor Dixon of Michigan, and Chamber Sarah Palin of Alaska – all of which have been endorsed by Trump.

Orban’s appeal to the conservatives

Among the most controversial figures invited to speak at CPAC Texas is Orban, who has been embraced by elements of the American conservative movement in recent years.

The European nationalist leader pushed restrictive immigration policies and cracked down on democratic institutions in Hungary while consolidating his own power.

In his Thursday afternoon speech in Dallas, Orban argued that his nationalist agenda in Hungary aligned with the goals of America’s conservative movement – sounding a lot like Trump.

“Progressive liberals didn’t want me here because they knew what I would tell you, because I’m here to tell you that we should join forces,” Orban said.

Orban was also sentenced for remarks considered racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic. Last month in Romania, Orban delivered a speech that a longtime aide denounced as “purely Nazi text” in her subsequent resignation letter.

Although he largely shied away from that kind of inflammatory rhetoric in Dallas, he scoffed at criticism that he was racist and anti-Semitic. “A Christian politician cannot be racist,” Orban said.

Orban has defended his 16-year term as prime minister, touting his hardline immigration policies and calling his fight against democratic institutes a “culture war”, attacking same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

Provoking the loudest standing ovation of his speech, Orban said: “To sum up: the mother is a woman, the father is a man, and leave our children alone. Period, end of discussion.”

Orban’s nationalist rhetoric has won him admirers among conservatives in the United States, including Trump, who recently met Orban at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump endorsed Orban’s bid for another term earlier this year and has repeatedly praised the Hungarian leader, including during a visit to the White House in 2019.
Another Orban fan is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who visited the central European country last year and anchored his show from Budapest. And earlier this year, Orban praised Carlson during a speech at CPAC Hungary, an event in Budapest co-sponsored by the ACU.

This title and story have been updated with additional details.


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