Trump Tries to Bring Hungary’s Orban in From the Cold

“This is more about long-term American strategic interests than about rewarding or not rewarding Orban, even if it looks otherwise,” Mr. Simonyi, the former ambassador, said.

Sensitive to the perception of embracing another illiberal autocrat, administration officials insisted during a conference call with reporters on Friday that the government has raised concerns about Mr. Orban’s actions at lower levels.

Mr. Orban met at the White House with Vice President Dick Cheney in 2001 but was refused a formal Oval Office meeting with Mr. Bush in 2002, shortly before he lost power to the Hungarian socialist party. His successor, Ferenc Gyurcsany, was granted a White House visit with Mr. Bush in 2005. After Mr. Orban re-entered office in 2010 and began to subjugate the judiciary, take over the news media and gerrymander the electoral map, Mr. Orban was snubbed repeatedly by the Obama administration.

Without question, the Trump administration has been warmer to Mr. Orban, who shares with Mr. Trump a dislike of immigration, independent institutions that can check his power, and international institutions that they say undermine national sovereignty.

That outward comity stands in contrast to the obvious friction between the Trump administration and longstanding American allies in Europe and elsewhere. Last Tuesday, Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, canceled a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany with only a few hours of notice and instead made a quick trip to Iraq — a decision perceived in Germany as a snub. He announced the same day that he would meet this week with Mr. Putin in Russia.

Last June, Mr. Orban was granted a phone call with Mr. Trump. In July, the State Department canceled funding for independent Hungarian news outlets that threatened to loosen Mr. Orban’s grip on the Hungarian news media.

To head the State Department section on European affairs, Mr. Trump in 2017 named A. Wess Mitchell, an advocate of friendlier ties with European Union nations, like Hungary and Poland, whose governments oppose the liberal forces that hold sway within the European Union. But Mr. Mitchell resigned this year and is due to be replaced by a career diplomat, Philip T. Reeker, who has displayed no public affection for the Orban administration.


more recommended stories

  • Trump’s Ringside Evening in the Sumo Arena

    TOKYO — As the leader of.

  • How Democrats Are, and Aren’t, Challenging the Trump Economic Record

    NASHUA, N.H. — Ask Democratic candidates.

  • The Insults Trump Has Hurled at 2020 Democrats

    Joseph R. Biden Jr. is “sleepy,”.

  • Trump Opens Tokyo Visit With a Tweet Sure to Unnerve the Japanese

    TOKYO — President Trump kicked off.

  • Bernie Sanders, No Longer the Front-Runner, Brings Campaign Home to Vermont

    MONTPELIER, Vt. — Senator Bernie Sanders.

  • Fact-Checking Bernie Sanders on the Campaign Trail

    “Absolutely. In fact, climate change is.

  • A Lesson of Sandy Hook: ‘Err on the Side of the Victims’

    NEWTOWN, Conn. — Scarlett Lewis sees.

  • Iran Slams U.S. After Middle East Troop Buildup Is Announced

    LONDON — Iranian officials lashed out.

  • John Bolton Says North Korean Missile Tests Violated U.N. Resolutions

    TOKYO — North Korean weapons tests.

  • On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week

    • China’s Supply of Minerals for.

  • Supreme Court Blocks Two Rulings Striking Down Voting Maps

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on.

  • Barr Got More Power to Review the Russia Inquiry. Here’s What We Know About Its Origins.

    WASHINGTON — President Trump has given.

  • Edited Pelosi Video vs. the Original: A Side-by-Side Comparison – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Jay Inslee Is Running on Climate Change. The Issue Is Catching On, So Why Isn’t He?

    RAYMOND, N.H. — For years, climate.

  • News Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of the Week’s Headlines

    Did you stay up to date.

  • On Politics: The Trade War Is Here to Stay

    Good Friday morning. Here are some.

  • Hope Hicks Left the White House. Now She Must Decide Whether to Talk to Congress.

    A White House spokesman did not.

  • 2020 Democrats Join McDonald’s Workers Striking Over Wages and Harassment

    As McDonald’s held its annual shareholder.

  • Sanders’s Education Plan Renews Debate Over Charter Schools and Segregation

    When Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a.

  • Trump Administration to Announce Farm Aid to Ease Pain of Trade War

    He reached out to Canadian and.

  • Pentagon to Build Temporary Shelter for 7,500 Migrant Adults Facing Deportation

    WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said on.

  • On Politics: Trump Blows Up Meeting With Democrats

    • New York State lawmakers approved.

  • U.S. Yet to Find Evidence of New Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

    WASHINGTON — The United States has.

  • Michael Avenatti Is Charged With Stealing Nearly $300,000 From Stormy Daniels

    Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged the.

  • Trump’s Battles: Today’s State of Play

    congress and the presidency As Democrats.

  • Gillibrand Proposes Huge Investments in Maternal Health, Child Care and Education

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s presidential campaign on.

  • On Politics: Trump May Impose Limits on Chinese Maker of Surveillance Tech

    Good Wednesday morning. Here are some.

  • Anita Hill Worries Female 2020 Candidates Are ‘Not Being Taken Seriously’

    Mr. Biden spoke with Ms. Hill.

  • U.S. Says Syria’s President May Be Using Chemical Weapons Again

    WASHINGTON — The State Department said.

  • Kentucky Has a Primary Election Today. Here’s What to Watch.

    Voters in Kentucky are choosing their.

  • ‘Our Subpoenas Are Not Optional,’ Nadler Warns McGahn – Video

    By REUTERS | May. 21, 2019.

  • As McGahn Prepares to Defy Subpoena, Democrats’ Anger Swells

    WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee.