New York Times says that President Donald Trump asked PM Orbán’s opinion about Ukraine during the Hungarian prime minister’s official visit this May even though White House national security advisors did not even want to invite the leader of the Hungarian government.
According to the paper, PM Orbán set President Trump against Ukraine. Furthermore, Washington Post says that not only PM Orbán but also Russian President Putin contributed a lot to reinforce Trump’s perception of Ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country – index.hu reported. Moreover, he thinks that
his presidential campaign in 2016 was tried to be undermined from Kyiv.
However, they added that neither Putin nor Orbán specifically encouraged Trump to see Ukraine as a potential source of damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and they did not describe Kyiv as complicit in an unsubstantiated 2016 election conspiracy theory, officials said.
According to the New York Times, the visit by Mr Orbán, who is seen as an autocrat who has rolled back democracy,
provoked a sharp dispute within the White House.
John R. Bolton, then Trump’s national security adviser, and Fiona Hill, then the National Security Council’s senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, opposed an invitation to the White House for the Hungarian leader, people told NYT. But they were outmanoeuvred by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, who supported such a meeting.
According to the paper, Mr Mulvaney became a supporter of PM Orbán during his work in Congress. As a result of Mulvaney’s support, Mr Trump sat down in the Oval Office with PM Orbán who at least fortified his negative outlook on Ukraine created before by his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and by President Putin of Russia.
Trump met with Orbán 10 days after he met with some high-ranking American officials who took part in the inauguration of the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Rick Perry, the energy secretary; Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine; and Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, said Trump that Mr Zelensky was a reformer who deserved American support. But Mr Trump highlighted his grave doubts adding that
Ukrainians were “terrible people” who “tried to take me down”
during the 2016 presidential election.
The Washington Post added that George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state said last week behind closed doors what role PM Orbán and President Putin played in the previous months in Trump’s July 25 phone call — a conversation that triggered an extraordinary whistleblower complaint as well as
a House impeachment inquiry.
This is because during the phone call Trump asked Zelensky to start an investigation regarding the business interests of the son of Joe Biden, a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election.
Reaction – The head of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás told his weekly press conference on Tuesday, US media reports claiming the Orbán had influenced US President Donald Trump regarding Ukraine were “fake news”. He added that Hungary trusted Ukraine’s new leaders would be better than their predecessors.
As we reported before, President Trump and PM Orbán met in May. If you are interested in the photos and the videos, click HERE. If you click HERE, you can read what Trump told about PM Orbán to the US ambassador to Hungary.
Source: index.hu, washingtonpost.com, nytimes.com