Viktor Orban Is the Authoritarian Creep Trump Wishes He Could Be
Donald Trump says he’s the richest guy around. Orban really is, after decades using his office to loot his country.
Donald Trump, a president who never met a dictator without falling in love, must have felt both utterly intrigued and slightly shorted by his visit with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban today. Orban had been frozen out of both the Bush and Obama White Houses and State Departments but received the singular honor of an Oval Office meeting today.
On the one hand, Orban is a part of the small-ball, slow-creep authoritarian movement, not the splashy, missile-parade style of Kim Jong Un. He lacks the cutthroat Great Power Player musk that comes off Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in waves and makes Trump weak in the knees. He’s not a sweaty backwater warlord like Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines.
No, Orban is a more subtle flavor, a kind of bijou strongman. A source of fascination for Steve Bannon, the architect of much of Trump’s nationalist populist claptrap, the prime minister is a proud advocate for what he calls “illiberal democracy.” Trump’s envious nature must have been in overdrive today.