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Hungarian Far-Right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Made ‘Smart Decisions,’ Says Senator JD Vance

Washington — The Republican senator. J.D. Vance of Ohio, rumored to be one of former President Donald Trump’s vice presidential contenders, said Sunday that the United States “could learn lessons” from some decisions made by the authoritarian prime minister Hungarian Viktor Orbán, including controversial policies related to the treatment of dissidents in universities.

“On the university principle, the idea that taxpayers should have some influence over how their money is spent at these universities, it’s a totally reasonable thing, and I think he made some smart decisions there that we could learn from in the United States,” Vance said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

The Ohio Republican has already praised Orbán’s approach to state universities in Hungary, saying his move could serve as a model for eliminating what he sees as left-wing bias in universities. American universities. Orbán, who is revered in some radical conservative circles, took control of state universities, a move that critics say expanded his government’s right-wing influence.

Senator JD Vance on “Face the Nation,” May 19, 2024.

CBS News

Vance claimed Sunday that American universities are already “controlled by left-wing foundations” rather than taxpayers. He said he was advocating for “taxpayers to have a say in how their money is spent.”

“Universities are part of a social contract in this country. They educate our children. They produce important intellectual property,” Vance added. “They’re making a lot of money doing this, but if they’re not educating our kids well and they’re piling the next generation into mountains of student debt, then they’re not holding up their end of the bargain.”

“I think it’s entirely reasonable to say there has to be a political solution to this problem,” Vance said. He also stressed that he did not approve of everything Orbán had done.

The comments come as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week criticized the Republican Party’s growing praise of Hungary’s government, warning the Senate against emulating a leader who has maintained friendly relations with American adversaries.

“This is not where America should be taking its foreign policy direction,” McConell said. “Hungary finds itself at the crossroads of three powers determined to undermine our security and prosperity. And the Orbán government is setting an example of what not to do in the face of these challenges.”

Meanwhile, Vance is among a list of individuals considered possible running mates of former President Donald Trump, who met with Orbán at his Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month, where he made praise of the Hungarian leader.

“Why is Viktor Orbán moving closer to China? Partly because American leaders are not making intelligent decisions,” Vance argued. “We’re pushing other countries into the arms of the Chinese because we’re not producing enough products, because we’re very often pursuing a ridiculous foreign policy. We need to be more self-reliant.”


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