The Hungarian foreign minister says his country is hoping for a return of former President Donald Trump to the White House, as he says the relationship between the U.S. and Hungary has deteriorated due to the ‘lecturing’ and interference in policy by the Biden administration.
Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told Fox News Digital that his country, which is led by a conservative government, had strong relations with the U.S. during the Trump administration, but that it has soured with the new Biden administration.
‘We had the best ever political relationship with the United States during the term of President Trump, the best ever political relationship. And I think the reason for that was that President Trump has based this bilateral relationship on mutual respect, and he did not have the intention to judge, to lecture or educate us,’ he said. ‘He concentrated on America to develop — America First — and he concentrated on the relationship of ours to develop as well, which can bring mutual benefit for both sides.’
He says that now, the Biden administration has sought to interfere with domestic issues, and highlighted a move in 2022 to end a bilateral tax agreement that prevented double taxation after Hungary reduced its corporate income tax. Last month, the U.S. also restricted visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders, citing security concerns, and has also repeatedly criticized the government for its human rights record.
‘The Democrat administration is making continuous attempts to interfere in domestic issues in Hungary, they are judging us, they are lecturing us. The fact that they have terminated and broken the bilateral tax agreement between the two countries is a clear signal that they tried to put political pressure or economic pressure on us to change policies,’ he said. ‘And this is unacceptable.’
He said there is no longer ‘mutual respect’ that was there during the Trump era, and suggested that political factors are at play.
‘We understand that the U.S. establishment is very unhappy with the fact that a conservative, right-wing, patriotic Christian Democrat government has been in office in Hungary for such a long time, and it is not enough that we have been in office for a long time, but we have proven to be successful, and I think this is very uncomfortable for many liberal forces around the world. So we do hope that our relationship will come back to the level where it used to be under President Trump.’
As for specific disagreements, he highlighted the war in Ukraine. He estimates that there are 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine, some of whom have been conscripted into the army and deployed.
‘So we Hungarians are losing our nation mates, let’s put it this way, and we do not want to lose any more Hungarians in this war. We don’t want to see any more casualties in this war — not only Hungarians, none of them,’ he said.
The U.S. has sought to end the conflict by backing Ukraine with funding and weapons to retake territory seized by the Russians, but Hungary sees delivering weapons as prolonging the conflict. President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday that the U.S. is ‘staying with you’ as he pushes Congress to provide additional funding for the war effort.
Szijjarto said that his country wants to see the U.S. bringing ‘peace into the neighborhood, and not weapons.’ He said he believed that would be more likely under former President Donald Trump, who is running to retake the White House in 2024 and has said that he would launch peace talks to bring the conflict to an end if re-elected.
‘We understand the position of President Trump, who would like to bring peace into our region. And we wish that an American administration brings peace into the region, because we have to be realistic that, without the United States, there will be no peace in the region,’ Szijjarto said. ‘And as far as we listen to President Trump, this is really encouraging, and we cross fingers for him, for our own interests, because we have a track record already with him. We know how the relationship was under his term, and the fact that he would like to make peace . . . that serves our national interests as well.’
Szijjarto stressed that ‘we are not Americans, so it doesn’t matter what we think about domestic politics, and we would never interfere in domestic politics either.’
‘But of course, we have an experience, and we have a hope. We have an experience about how we work together, and we have a hope for the president of the United States to make peace in our neighborhood. And President Trump is the one.’
Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this report.