People change. If you want to look at a glaring example, put your eyes on Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, who spent some time shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump in the White House last week.
He’s playing his second inning in a double header as prime minister. The first time around, from 1998 to 2002, he seemed like an OK guy — a Hungarian, moderate conservative. But in his return trip to the plate he’s dug in his cleats big time and become a street-fighter, the tyrant of central Europe. He’s jerked around with Hungary’s election laws and given his opponents a goodbye ticket to the minor leagues. He and his millionaire friends have bought up and bought out Hungary’s newspapers and TV stations, so his is the only voice Hungarians can hear. He’s packed the courts and called foul balls on Muslims, Jews and immigrants.
Trump likes him. He said during Orban’s visit that he and Orban were “like twins.” The feeling is mutual on Orban’s part — he was the first European leader to endorse Trump’s campaign for the presidency in 2016. Trump “would love to have the (political) situation Orbán has,” says David Cornstein, America’s ambassador to Hungary and one of Trump’s longtime cronies.
They’re “twins” all right. Trump is as much an authoritarian as Orban. I’ve said it from the first, and I’ll say it again, Trump is a demagogue, even a wannabe tyrant and dictator, like Orban. He is not cut from the cloth of a real American. He cares nothing about America’s guiding principle, the rule of law. He has flouted it. He has not merely broken the law, he has overthrown the law.
We thought he was joking during the 2016 campaign when he bragged that he was so popular he could shoot someone in the middle of New York’s always-crowded Fifth Avenue and he would get away with it.
It wasn’t funny then and it isn’t funny now, with his lawyers and the attorney general maintaining last week that he’s privileged and above the law — that he can’t be investigated or prosecuted and that he can silence and dismiss any sworn officer — or Congress — who would dare to bring charges against him.
These are bad things. Ominous things. That is the kind of ultimate and untouchable power that only kings, emperors, dictators and tyrants have. Those are exactly the kinds of powers that the Constitution forbids.
He suggested last week that he’s entitled to have an extra two years added to his term because he had to deal with the Special Counsel’s investigation. No way!
If he’s thinking like that now, what will he do in 2020?
He has no moral center. He’s a racist. He has told more than 10,000 counted lies since he’s been in office. He has lived his life as a con man and a crook, as the tax returns he’s so desperately hiding will show. These are terrible moral traits. He admires Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orban, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un.
He said during the 2016 race that if he lost the election he would not accept it.
We have always prided ourselves on the peaceful transitions of power that our outgoing presidents have accepted. With Donald Trump, don’t bet on it if he loses in 2020.