From boasting about his "love letters" with North Korea's Kim Jong Un to siding with Russia's Vladimir Putin over national intelligence officials to praising his friendship with Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former President Donald Trump has done little to keep his admiration of foreign authoritarian leaders a secret.
But this admiration reached new levels with Trump's most recent foreign endorsement.
On Monday morning, Trump announced his endorsement of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's reelection efforts.
President Donald J. Trump announces his endorsement of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán pic.twitter.com/lQc663Cw6d
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) January 3, 2022
"Viktor Orbán of Hungary truly loves his Country and wants safety for his people. He has done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming Election. He is a strong leader and respected by all."
Since his election in 2010, Orbán has steered Hungary's political landscape violently to the right. Orbán is particularly hostile to LGBTQ people. Just last year, his government ended the legal recognition of transgender people (something Trump also considered during his time in office) and proposed legislation that would ban any positive portrayals of homosexuality in books and movies.
Orbán has also called for a racially homogenous Hungary, saying in 2018:
"We must state that we do not want to be diverse and do not want to be mixed: we do not want our own colour, traditions and national culture to be mixed with those of others. We do not want this. We do not want that at all. We do not want to be a diverse country."
With Orbán's rewriting of election laws to benefit his own party, the changing of school textbooks to promote anti-immigration stances, and the crackdown on press freedoms, the far-right leader has executed policies about which Trump raved and sought to emulate during his time as President.
Trump's endorsement was widely criticized.
The leader of the Republican Party endorsing authoritarianism.
In case you needed yet another sign that supporting Democrats and preserving American democracy should be your number one New Year’s resolution… https://t.co/Q9aY6QLAmT
— Shir (@sdattias) January 3, 2022
Lmfao Trump openly endorsed one of the most corrupt autocrats in the world
You can’t make this stuff up folks
Next up he’ll be endorsing Kim Jong Un https://t.co/5K7WDEuQJy
— the mom from shrill (@veraeaston_) January 3, 2022
Authoritarian kleptocrats stick together. https://t.co/fJtCvwaPjL
— Will Watson (@willwatsonAR) January 3, 2022
This is weird. And inappropriate. https://t.co/x9AWc2rDO8
— A Christmas Carly 🎄 (@intlcarly) January 3, 2022
trUMp iSNt a FasCIsT ThAtZ oVErBLowN https://t.co/DlyM1ocAqL
— Matt (@recovringlawyer) January 3, 2022
A demagogue endorses a demagogue https://t.co/NYNJSmSu5W https://t.co/FW6Sle7lSi
— Steve Rhodes (@tigerbeat) January 3, 2022
Some social media users pressed Republicans on whether they support Trump's endorsement of an unabashed authoritarian.
Hey @SenToddYoung , self proclaimed expert on foreign relations, you ok with this? https://t.co/Cfs1KO07Ej
— kimRN (@KimHenke1) January 3, 2022
He’s just like him, so are republicans. Every reporter should ask McConnell and McCarthy & every R, if they support him also. Iam sure Fox will. https://t.co/cAenavQhEu
— pam (@badkitty251) January 3, 2022
None have responded.