Donald Trump has an inexplicable adoration of strong-men dictators. He said he “fell in love” with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. POTUS has private one-on-one meetings with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. This affinity may be Trump’s downfall.
Over his national security adviser’s objections, Trump met with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban days before an important Ukraine meeting. The prime minister was quite hostile toward Ukraine.
At the same time, POTUS’ personal attorney/fixer Rudy Giuliani was in Kiev, Ukraine trying to gin up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The younger Biden served on the board of a Ukraine utility company while his father was in office, but an investigation found him free of guilt.
Former national security adviser John Bolton and former National Security Council’s senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs Fiona Hill warned Trump against meeting with Orban, according to The New York Times. The Hungarian leader has been described as “an autocrat,” which is the same as a dictator. He has expressed strong feelings against Ukraine.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was for the meeting. The seeds of these meetings quickly grew into Trump’s impeachment inquiry. The president met with the Hungarian leader, who has had a “fiercely negative outlook on Ukraine,” in the Oval Office according to The New York Times. Giuliani and Russian President Vladimir Putin bolstered that opinion.
Putin and Orban have publicly accused Ukraine of persecuting its Hungarian minority. The latter called Ukraine “semi-fascist,” and tried to halt meetings between Ukraine and the European Union (EU) and NATO.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for Ukraine policy George Kent testified before a House impeachment inquiry committee. Trump talked to Putin at the same time as Orbin visited. Kent testified in a closed-door session. There he said:
‘[A]nother government official had held the two episodes up to him as part of an explanation for Mr. Trump’s darkening views of Mr. Zelensky last spring, according to a person familiar with his testimony. A third factor cited to him was Mr. Giuliani’s influence.’
Kent did not have firsthand experience with either conversation, and it was not clear whether his source did. However, two other individuals verified that Orban did use his meeting with Trump to criticize Ukraine.
Why was Putin so down on Zelensky? He has long claimed that Ukraine did not even deserve to be separate from Russia. Putin annexed Crimea, a portion of Ukraine, and attacked the nation’s eastern border. In addition, he fostered the civil war within the country.
Neither Bolton or Hill thought Orban deserved the honor of a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office. It advanced the autocrat’s standing among many European countries.
The U.S. ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein, a jewelry tycoon and longtime friend of Trump was also in the meeting. He said that POTUS envied Orban:
‘I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orban has, but he doesn’t.’
Orban targets vast swaths of his country:
‘[N]ongovernmental organizations, brought most of the news media under control of his allies, undermined the independent judiciary, altered the electoral process to favor his party and sought to drive out of the country an American-chartered university founded by the billionaire George Soros.’
While Mulvaney was in Congress, he had grown to respect Orban. Both were involved with the International Catholic Legislators Network. Orban claimed he supported Christians in the Middle East.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
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