"A purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Goebbels." This is how Zsuzsa Hegedus defined Viktor Orbán's last speech in his resignation letter, published by the Hungarian media outlet Hvg.hu. It had been 20 years since the counselor had worked hand in hand with the minister and she maintained a "friendly" relationship with him. In fact, on numerous occasions she had defended him from accusations of anti-Semitism, which were constant, given Orbán's anti-immigration policies.
This time, however, he has not been able to deny the racist connotations of the Fidesz party leader's rhetoric and has chosen to jump ship before his conscience suffers. Last Saturday's rant in Romania - in which he criticized "race mixing" -, he says, was "indefensible", extreme even by his standards.
Trump's idol, who recently praised the work of the Hungarian leader (they are united by the fight against supposed political correctness and the European liberal elites) expressed that the European peoples must be free to mix with each other, but that the union between Europeans and non-Europeans should not occur in order not to mix "races". "We are willing to mix with each other, but we do not want to become mixed-race peoples," Orbán said, adding that countries where this was accepted "are not nations." Some say that the speech was "a smoke screen" to divert attention from the economic crisis, because Orbán, just as he suggests that he believes in ethnic purity, then speaks of the Hungarian people as "the most mixed society".
The International Committee of Auschwitz, of Holocaust survivors, described his words as "foolish and dangerous", and the largest Jewish group in Hungary requested a meeting with Orbán after echoing the condemnation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, where the event took place – in Băile Tuşnad – also expressed his discontent. They were not the only ones to raise their voices against the Hungarian prime minister, although others have defended him just as vehemently. The government's flagship newspaper, Magyar Nemzet, praised Viktor Orbán in an article for defending the idea of nationality and thus preventing countries from becoming "a gray and indistinguishable mass."
It is true that since 2015, Orbán has delighted his followers with extreme right-wing language, but this is the first time that a member of the leader's inner circle has turned his back on him. "I sincerely regret that such a shameful stance has forced me to sever our relationship," Hegedus wrote in his letter to the nationalist leader. His defection, the opposition believes, is a clear sign that the Government of Hungary, a country that is part of the European Union, has embarked on a worrying authoritarian and anti-liberal drift.
The prime minister, however, defends that his position is not racist. "You can't accuse me of racism after 20 years working together," he replied to his former counselor. You know better than anyone that my Government follows a policy of zero tolerance for both anti-Semitism and racism." His spokeswoman argued that the media had misrepresented his words.
Despite the small fissure that Hegedus has opened in the party, resignations like his are almost unheard of. On the other hand, the criticism is nothing new: his views on immigration and his good relationship with Vladimir Putin (Budapest currently imports 80% of its gas from Russia) have made him unpopular. in the European community. That has not affected the government of him, however. It should be remembered that Fidesz won a fourth term in April after a landslide victory in the general election. Next week, Orbán will travel to Dallas, where he will give the keynote speech at CPAC Texas, a rally of American conservatives.