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Trump praises 'highly respected' Hungarian prime minister in White House meeting

By Daniel Uria
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Trump praises 'highly respected' Hungarian prime minister in White House meeting
President Donald Trump meets with Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Oval Office of White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday. Trump praised Orban as "tough" and a "highly respected" leader. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

May 13 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House on Monday.

Trump praised Orban as a "highly respected" leader all over Europe as they made remarks before meeting to discuss NATO, trade and other subjects.

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"Viktor Orban has done a tremendous job in many different ways," Trump said. "Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that's okay. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe."

Orban was elected to a fourth consecutive term as Hungary's prime minister in April of least year after his far-right Fidesz Party won 133 out of 199 Parliament seats in the country's elections.

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His platform centered around skepticism of the European Union and opposition to immigration. Opponents have accused him of trying to undermine democratic institutions throughout his tenure.

In 2017, the European Union investigated Hungary for legislation that refused to take in asylum seekers and threatened to close a university in Bucharest founded by American philanthropist George Soros.

When asked about concerns regarding "democratic backsliding" in Hungary, Orban noted that the country adopted a new constitution in 2011, which he said is "functioning well," and pointed to the fact that he has been reelected multiple times.

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"'From the people, by the people, for the people.' This is the basis for the Hungarian government. So, it's a government which is elected by the Hungarian people several times, so we are happy to serve our nation," he said.

Trump also praised Orban as a "tough" man who he said has "done the right thing" about immigration.

"You look at some of the problems that they have in Europe that are tremendous because they've done it a different way than the prime minister," Trump said.

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Orban said he expected to strengthen Hungary's strategic alliance with the United States during Monday's meetings while also discussing a number of global political issues.

"I would like to express that we are proud to stand together with the United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism and to protect and help the Christian communities all around the world," he said.

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