"And you look at some of the problems that they have in Europe that are tremendous because they've done it a different way than the prime minister".
Orbn was largely iced out during the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, both concerned about the steps he took to consolidate power and block independent media.
Orban appears a disruptor in the election at a time when traditional mainstream political parties are under threat by populist insurgents in several European countries.
KAKISSIS: Under Orban, Hungary rewrote its constitution to strengthen his control over Parliament. They say the visit is important as Trump seeks to pull Hungary back from recent alignments with Russian Federation, reward members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that increase their commitments to defense, limit China's global reach through 5G networks and sell USA weapons overseas. During Secretary of State Michael Pompeo's February visit, Hungary confirmed it considering buying a US medium-range air-defense system. "We do not want our own colour, traditions and national culture to be mixed with those of others".
Trump said he and Orban would discuss trade and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation issues as he brushed off a question from a reporter about democratic backsliding in Hungary.
"People have a lot of respect for this prime minister", Trump said.More news: Constance Wu’s ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ job safe after rant
In this March 15, 2018 photo, people taking part in a march against Prime Minister Viktor Orban flash the lights of their mobile phones in Budapest, Hungary.
Trump's expressed belief that Orban is "respected all over Europe" comes days after one of Trump's top aides noted that Orban's authoritarianism has been unpopular among other European leaders.
"Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that's OK, that's OK".
In September, Orban - in office since 2010 - praised Trump as "a phenomenon, an icon" among nationalists and isolationists worldwide, after Trump denounced a "globalist" view of the world in a speech at the United Nations.
Amnesty International has condemned Hungary for its "systematic crackdown on the rights of refugees and migrants" in recent years.
KELEMEN: Another former State Department official, Rob Berschinski, who's now with Human Rights First, says today's meeting fits a pattern with Trump, who often praises authoritarian leaders.More news: Farmer sawed off leg with pocket knife to save his own life
Trump announced during his meeting with Orbn that he would use next month's Group of 20 summit in Japan for meetings with both Putin and Xi.
Trump had already attracted significant criticism - including from Republicans in Congress - for his decision to meet with Orban.
Ahead of Monday's meeting, a bipartisan group of USA senators on the Foreign Relations Committee wrote to Trump to ask him to urge Orban to return to the democratic roots and values that defined Hungary's post-Cold War relationship with the US and Europe. "So president thank you very much for the invitation". Sens. James Risch, R-Idaho, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said that under Orban, elections have become less competitive, the judiciary is increasingly controlled by the state and press freedom has declined.
In fact, hardly any European politician is as close to Trump as Orban.
"I don't need it", he told reporters.More news: Campaigning in WB to end tomorrow after EC's unprecedented action