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CPAC Hungary is a brazen embrace of white nationalist authoritarianism

Conservatives in America have exported their most popular event to one of the most repressive white nationalist countries in the world. The ties that bind are clear.


Republicans are hosting one of their largest conventions of the year in Hungary, days after the country's authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán, endorsed the racist “replacement theory” that allegedly inspired the recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.

The Conservative Political Action Conference is usually confined to the U.S., but Republicans have developed a fondness for Orbán’s authoritarian get-down and are hosting a special convention abroad to pay their respects. His largely white country has installed a proto-fascist, white nationalist government that bears only a slight resemblance to democracy, and Republicans — looking to institute a similar government here — have heralded him as one of their favorite leaders. Fox News’ leading white nationalist, Tucker Carlson, routinely fawns over Orbán on his show and has traveled to Hungary to speak with right-wing politicians, and he’s scheduled to deliver remarks at CPAC Hungary.

Fellow speakers at the fascist-friendly conference, which began Thursday, include Orbán, other far-right Hungarian politicians and several Republicans, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — one of the central figures in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

In other words: The conservative movement is making its ties to the global white nationalist movement abundantly clear. Perhaps that’s what CPAC’s organizers meant when they referred to their “fight for conservatism in America and abroad.”

Chairman of the American Conservative Union Matt Schlapp at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Balna cultural centre of Budapest, Hungary on Thursday, May 19.
Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Thursday.Attila Kisbenedek / AFP via Getty Images, file

“Hungary is the laboratory where we have managed to come up with the antidote for progressive dominance,” Orbán said in his remarks Thursday, according to Rolling Stone. “The nation comes first: Hungary first, America first.”

Earlier this week, Orbán offered a full-throated endorsement of the racist theory that allegedly inspired the Buffalo massacre shooter to open fire at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. The suspect is alleged to be a white nationalist.

“I see the great European population exchange as a suicidal attempt to replace the lack of European, Christian children with adults from other civilizations — migrants,” Orbán declared in a speech, according to The Guardian. He also reportedly disparaged "gender madness," apparently referring to the expansion of LGBTQ rights.

CPAC is undeniably the most popular conservative gathering in America. It’s naive to think Republicans' exporting it to one of the most repressive right-wing countries in the world is anything but what it so clearly is: an open embrace of white supremacist rule.