President Donald Trump praised the controversial prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, on Monday, telling reporters that Orbán has done a good job protecting his country from an influx of immigrants.
“Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways. He’s highly respected, respected all over Europe. Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that’s OK. That’s OK. You’ve done a good job. And you’ve kept your country safe,” Trump told the prime minister during a joint press conference.
Tuesday was the controversial leader’s first trip to Washington during Trump’s presidency. His stance on immigration in many ways mimics Trump’s. As the president has promoted policies that would send asylum seekers to detention facilities in Mexico as they wait for their claims to be processed, Orbán’s Hungary has constructed holding centers for migrants on its borders. The move was meant to keep migrants, many of whom were fleeing war and violence in the Middle East, from entering the European Union from Serbia.
Last week, the United Nations refugee agency condemned Orbán’s government for forcing asylum seekers to leave Hungary without due process. And despite Trump’s claim that Orbán is respected, his European Union allies have censured his government for violating EU values, and the European People’s Party, a center-right block in the European Parliament to which Orbán’s Fidesz party belongs, has suspended his.