The right-wing Hungarian government’s impending crackdown on “foreign funded” civil society groups has been roundly condemned by both the European Union and watchdogs such as Amnesty International. But Rep. Steve King (R-IA) thinks it’s a great idea.
On Monday, the U.S. congressman tweeted his support for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose government proposed the law targeting organizations that receive funds from abroad.
The law appears to be specifically aimed at demolishing Central European University, a Budapest-based school founded by the liberal financier George Soros. A native of Hungary, Soros is a frequent target of opprobrium from both the American and Hungarian far right.
“Prime Minister Victor [sic] Orban leads the way again,” tweeted King. “Marxist billionaire Soros cannot be allowed to influence U.S. elections either.”
Prime Minister Victor Orban leads the way again. Marxist billionaire Soros cannot be allowed to influence U.S. elections either. https://t.co/C4Jl5uskzo
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 17, 2017
Amnesty International has described the law that King endorsed as “draconian” and a “calculated assault on the rights to freedom of expression and association.”
Orban himself is a key figure in the European anti-democratic right. He has said that he envisions Hungary as an “illiberal state” that should prioritize national identity over liberal democratic rights. And he has embraced mass detention and deportation as a way of defending his country from “siege” by migrants and refugees.
As a result, Orban has won himself fans among other far-right nationalist movements in both Europe and the United States. King’s praise for the Hungarian PM included a link to the white nationalist hub Breitbart Media, by way of a retweet from the account “Voice of Europe.”
That was the same account that King retweeted last month when he observed that Americans “can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Explicitly racist and neo-Nazi groups celebrated that remark, and referred to King as “King Steve.”
Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies. https://t.co/4nxLipafWO
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) March 12, 2017
The Hungarian right enjoys some ideological affinity with American white nationalist groups, though Orban afforded himself a little distance from them by having American racist Richard Spencer arrested and deported while he was on a visit to Budapest.
In addition to supporting Orban, King has forged links with a number of other far-right European parties. His friends abroad include leaders of the French National Front and Austrian Freedom Part, both of which were founded by fascists. He has also endorsed the nationalists Geert Wilders and Frauke Petry, of the Netherlands and Germany, respectively.
But King isn’t Orban’s only ally in the United States government. A member of Trump’s national security team, Sebastian Gorka, is a former Orban adviser and an alleged member of a Hungarian fascist club once linked to the Third Reich.