Fox News host Tucker Carlson will produce his show this week from Hungary, where he has already met autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and is listed as a speaker at a conference on far-right nationalism.
Carlson, who earlier this year appeared to endorse a core belief of white supremacy on his show, appeared from Budapest on Monday, while Orbán posted a photo of the pair on Facebook.
This weekend Carlson is listed to speak at the MCC Feszt in the Hungarian capital, where he is due to deliver a personal political manifesto called “The World According to Tucker Carlson.”
Carlson, a fervent supporter of twice-impeached President Donald Trump despite apparently telling friends he voted for Kanye West in 2020, has risen to incredible popularity among the right this year for his pro-white, anti-democratic support for new voting restrictions as well as his willingness to cast doubt on programmes to increase COVID vaccination rates.
MCC, or the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, is a private endowment fund backed by $1.7 billion in Hungarian state funding to develop conservative elites as part of long-term project by Orbán. Hungary’s Prime Minister has come under continued criticism for oppressing democratic activists, legally attacking journalists who criticise the government, further spying on said journalists, pushing state control of media outlets and conducting epic levels of cronyism in distributing state funds to allies.
Orbán has made a career of warning of the dangers of immigration, once saying that Muslims are not seen as refugees but as invaders, so naturally he met in person with Carlson in his office on Monday.
Over the last decade Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party has repeatedly targeted Hungary’s LGBTQ community, banning same-sex couples from adopting children and most recently outlawing LGBTQ content in schools or on children’s TV, drawing widespread criticism and legal opposition from the European Union.
MCC meanwhile is widely seen in pro-democracy circles as an attempt by Orbán and his inner circle of hard-right politicians to further control all political discourse in the country.
“This is not about Hungarian higher education,” Istvan Hiller, a lawmaker from the opposition Socialist Party and former education minister who now serves as a deputy speaker of Parliament, told the New York Times in June. “This is about building a foundation to solidify power.”
Orbán, who supports what he called “illiberal Democracy” in a 2014 speech, often argues that ideology and nationalism are far more important to the national character than democratic rights or fair voting, a position that appears to increasingly align him with pundits like Carlson on the American right.