Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is still scheduled to address the crowd at CPAC Texas in early August despite facing massive backlash to a recent speech that one of his longtime advisors called a “pure Nazi speech” worthy of Joseph Goebbels.
Mr Orban gave the speech in question last weekend in Romania, railing against Islamic immigration to Europe and arguing that countries in which people of different ethnicities co-exist are “no longer nations.”
“This is why we have always fought: We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” Mr Orban said.
Mr Orban has expressed similar sentiments for years, but the strength and directness of the rhetoric in this particular speech was too much for Zsuzsa Hegedus, an advisor who had served Mr Orban for decades. In a resignation letter printed in the Hungarian press, Ms Hegedus, who is Jewish, said that she had been uncomfortable with Hungary’s authoritarian drift for years. The “openly racist” speech in Romania was the final straw.
Mr Orban responded to Ms Hegedus’ resignation letter with a statement saying that his government “follows a zero-tolerance policy on both antisemitism and racism,” but he was also condemned by the International Auschwitz Committee for the tenor of the speech and comments that appeared to make light of the Holocaust.
Referencing the European Commission’s gas reduction targets for the next year, Mr Orban said: “I do not see how it will be enforced — although, as I understand it, the past shows us German know-how on that.”
The International Auschwitz Committee called Mr Orban’s speech “stupid and dangerous,” and told the European Union to “make it clear to the world that a Mr Orban has no future in Europe.”
That message has clearly not reached the organisers of CPAC Texas, a gathering that will also feature speeches from former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Lauren Bobert and television personality Sean Hannity in Dallas next week.
CPAC chair Matt Schlap confirmed in an interview at the America First Policy Institute summit that Mr Orban is still scheduled to give a keynote address.
“Let’s listen to the man speak,” Mr Schlapp said. “We’ll see what he says. And if people have a disagreement with something he says, they should raise it.”
Mr Orban’s invitation seems to speak to the esteem with which he is held by many members of the conservative and far right movements in the US, especially considering that CPAC cancelled an appearance by the hip-hop artist Young Pharaoh after he was accused of antisemitism last year.
Mr Orban also spoke to a session of CPAC in Budapest earlier this year, arguing that “the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint” and that conservatives need to have their own media.