Tucker Carlson Summers With Viktor Orban, Touted As Speaker At Budapest Far-right Gathering

Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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August 2, 2021 2:44 p.m.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is billed as a speaker at a far-right conference in Hungary on Saturday, according to a flier for the event. The appearance will come days after the Fox host met with the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Carlson will purportedly offer his insights at MCC Feszt, an event hosted by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, which the New York Times described in June as a government-funded plan to “train a conservative future elite.

A program for MCC Feszt touts Carlson as speaking on Saturday, delivering a talk called “The World According to Tucker Carlson.”

It’s part of a larger, four-day long program that also advertises a talk from a representative of one of America’s esteemed conservative institutions of higher education: Dennis Prager of PragerU, which makes up for what it lacks in physical space, accreditation, and discernible curriculum in Facebook virality. Prager will deliver a talk on “media and free speech.”

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But Carlson isn’t only in Budapest for the conservative lectures, hot springs, and fruit brandy, however. The far-right news host surprised some on Monday after Orbán posted a photo of the two of them meeting on Facebook.

Neither Fox News nor MCC Feszt immediately returned requests for comment.

The New York Times described MCC as benefitting from $1.7 billion in grants from the Hungarian government and open support from Orbán.

Orbán has characterized his approach to governance as “illiberal democracy.” He has both alarmed pro-democracy activists in Europe while also offering American observers of Trump a useful analogue for democratic backsliding. Orbán’s government has used anti-Semitic imagery to demonize George Soros, a native of the country, while also pressuring universities associated with him to close. Orbán has also gone out of his way to clamp down on LGBT rights during his tenure.

In an interview with the New York Times, the chair of the MCC’s board Balazs Orbán (no relation to the prime minister) said that “It’s very important for us to have our own agenda, have our own mind-set, have our own independence, culture.”

“Ideology is not important. Patriotism is,” he added to the paper.

The MCC board chair put a poster of Carlson’s visit on his Facebook page last week.

Carlson won’t be the first American conservative to plumb the reactionary depths that MCC has on tap.

In December 2020, the group’s Danube Institute hosted an online conference that featured “patriotic talks.”

That included Prager, who seems to be a fixture at these events, as well as Harlan Hill, a Trump acolyte who shares Carlson’s former fondness for bowties, and David Webb, another Fox News host.

Carlson himself had the country’s nationalist foreign minister Peter Szijjarto on his show in February 2019, using Hungary as an example of a “pro-family country.”

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