BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a sprawling interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the only path to ending the war in Ukraine would be the reelection of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency.
In the interview, posted Wednesday on Carlson’s page on X, formerly known as Twitter, the nationalist Orbán praised Trump's foreign policy while blasting President Joe Biden's administration and its approach to the war.
Although Trump faces criminal charges for allegedly trying to overturn the 2020 election, returning the former president to office would be “the only way out” of the conflict, Orbán argued, calling any suggestion that Ukraine could defeat Russia “a lie.”
“The Russians are far stronger, far more numerous than the Ukrainians,” Hungary's prime minister said. “Call back Trump. … Trump is the man who can save the Western world.”
Orbán’s view of the state of the war conflicts with how U.S. and Ukrainian officials have characterized the invaded country's prospects for taking back Russian-occupied territory.
Speaking to reporters last week, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration does “not assess that the conflict is a stalemate.”
"We continue to support Ukraine in its effort to take territory as part of this counteroffensive, and we are seeing it continue to take territory on a methodical, systematic basis,” Sullivan said.
Carlson's 30-minute video interview, filmed Aug. 21 on the opulent terrace of Orbán's office overlooking Budapest, was his second in two years with the right-wing leader. When Carlson was a Fox News host, his program broadcast from Hungary's capital for a week in 2021.
At the time, he praised Orbán's self-styled “illiberal democracy” — a system that eschews traditional liberal values in favor of conservative Christian rule — as a model for the United States to follow.
Orbán, in office since 2010, has long been criticized for overseeing an increasingly autocratic political system. The European Union, as well as the U.S. State Department and numerous international observers, have alleged that Orbán has rolled back minority rights, seized control of the judiciary and media, and manipulated the election system to ensure his hold on power.
In the new interview with Carlson, Orbán slammed the multiple indictments of Trump, which also include for allegedly mishandling classified documents, as a misuse of U.S. government power that would be unthinkable in Hungary.
“To use the justice system against the political opponents — in Hungary, I think it’s impossible to imagine,” he said. “That was done by the Communists. It’s a very Communist methodology to do that.”
He also bemoaned efforts by Biden's State Department to get Hungary's government to improve its rule-of-law and human rights record, saying that despite Hungary being a NATO member and U.S. ally, "we are worse treated than the Russians. What’s that about?”
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Orbán's government has maintained its close ties with Moscow, and has threatened to block EU sanctions on Russia.
Known as Russian President Vladimir Putin's closest ally in the EU, Orbán has refused to allow the transfer of Western weapons across Hungary's shared border with Ukraine and called for an immediate cease-fire and peace talks in the conflict, but without providing a vision of what that would mean for Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Since Carlson's last visit to Hungary, he was ousted by Fox News after the network agreed to pay more than $787 million to settle a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems over airing of false claims following the 2020 presidential election.