DALLAS, TEXAS - AUGUST 04: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on August 04, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing current events and future political agendas. Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called for a fight against liberalism during an appearance in the USA. “If anyone has doubts whether progressive liberals and communists are the same, just ask us Hungarians (…) They are the same. So we have to defeat them again, ”said Orban on Thursday in Dallas at the start of a conference of right-wing conservatives. “We need a total defense,” he added. Orban’s speech was peppered with war rhetoric – he spoke of a culture war and positioned himself against migration and liberal values.

Orban delivered the opening speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas. The CPAC is a regular gathering of right-wing conservatives that brings together many supporters of former US President Donald Trump, conspiracy theorists and the religious right. The refuted claim that Trump won the 2020 presidential election is practically de rigueur at the meeting. The main speaker on Saturday evening (local time) is Trump himself.

Orban has governed Hungary since 2010 and leads a right-wing government. He has eroded democracy and the rule of law there, which is why he is also in conflict with the European Union. At the CPAC he played the sound of his hosts – presented himself as an ally and role model. He received a lot of applause, for example, when he praised the “traditional family”. “We need more Rangers, less drag queens and more Chuck Norris,” he said. Chuck Norris is an American martial artist.

Orban described himself as an “old-fashioned freedom fighter” and claimed his country was under siege by “progressive liberals”. “I am the longest serving prime minister in Europe. The only anti-immigrant political leader on our continent, a father of five children and grandfather of five grandchildren,” he said. He also drew from the leather against the US Democrats. “They did everything to drive a wedge between us. They hate me and slander me and my country just as they hate you and slander the America you stand for,” he said.

Orban repeatedly received loud applause from the several hundred spectators in the hall. He presented himself as a leading figure from whom the right in the US could still learn. “You have to be brave. If you’re afraid, you have a job to do,” he said to his hosts. “The only thing we Hungarians can show you is how we can fight back on our own terms.” Hungary itself hosted a CPAC conference in May.

CPAC organizers describe the gathering as “one of the largest and most influential gatherings of conservatives in the world.” Moderate conservatives are not to be found there, however. Another guest on Thursday was former arch-conservative vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who now wants to move into the US House of Representatives. She railed against the government in Washington and spoke out against the abolition of the Department of Education.

Palin is considered a stimulus figure of the political right. She was the butt of ridicule during the 2008 election campaign when, as a vice presidential candidate, she claimed she could see Russia from her home in Alaska. Now she railed against the government of US President Joe Biden and the “fake news media”, which would not report on the important things at all. She always got loud applause for this – even if the rows in the hall had already emptied a bit. Palin was the last speaker on Thursday.