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Viktor Orban Will Still Speak at CPAC Despite ‘Nazi’ Speech Backlash

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- A gathering of US conservatives in Texas next week will still include Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a speaker despite his recent comments which prompted a long-time ally to resign from his government and compare his comments to Nazism.

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In a speech over the weekend to supporters in Romania, Orban railed against a “flood” of migrants being “forced” on Hungary. He said he wanted to prevent Hungary from becoming a “mixed-race” country, adding that countries with a high level of racial mixing are no longer countries. Zsuzsanna Hegedus, who is Jewish and his long-time ally and adviser, resigned. The Romanian foreign minister also criticized the remarks.

Orban’s remarks cast a cloud over his role as an icon for some US right-wing groups, who have embraced his nationalist rhetoric while playing down concerns about intolerance. He is due to speak next week at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. Orban was a speaker in May at the first CPAC Hungary event conducted by the Budapest-based Center for Fundamental Rights and the American Conservative Union.

“Let's listen to the man speak,” Matt Schlapp, chair of CPAC, said in an interview at the America First Policy Institute summit in Washington. “We'll see what he says. And if people have a disagreement with something he says, they should raise it.”

Hegedus in a letter published by the hvg.hu news website said, “I don’t know how you didn’t notice that the speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels,” referring to Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist. The speech would have appealed to the “most vile racists,” she wrote.

Orban rejected the accusation, saying that his government has “a zero tolerance policy on antisemitism and racism.”

CPAC cancelled an appearance scheduled for the conference last year in Orlando by Young Pharaoh, the hip-hop artist, after he was accused of antisemitic remarks on social media. After the May meeting in Hungary prompted allegations of antisemitic comments, CPAC also issued a statement affirming its rejection of antisemitic and racist views.

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