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Trump held ‘friendly’ meeting with Hungary’s Viktor Orbán at Mar-a-Lago and then took autocrat to a concert

Donald Trump and a small group of close advisers met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for roughly an hour Friday night at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

Afterward, Trump took the European autocrat to a tribute band concert that was part of a “members only” event at the club.

One of the sources familiar described the meeting as a “social meeting” with no agenda, while a separate source said it was “friendly.” Orbán, a fourth source told CNN, sought the meeting with Trump and had been planning to be in the US separately.

Trump, according to a readout from his campaign, met with Orbán “to discuss a wide range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States, including the paramount importance of strong and secure borders to protect the sovereignty of each nation.”

The meeting underscores Trump’s history of embracing global strongmen – at times at the expense of more traditional US allies.

A Biden administration official confirmed to CNN that the White House did not extend an invitation to the authoritarian leader to meet with President Joe Biden, and he did not request a White House meeting during his trip to the US this week.

Biden earlier in the day suggested the meeting between the Hungarian strongman and Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, was worrying.

Asked whether he was concerned about the Mar-a-Lago talks, Biden said: “If I’m not, you should be” — suggesting it was only natural for him to be alarmed by the meeting between Orbán and Trump.

Orbán’s far-right populism, fierce anti-immigration rhetoric, Christian nationalism and hostility to LGBTQ rights has made him a popular ideological model for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” followers. He has spoken in the past at the Conservative Political Action Conference – an annual gathering of pro-Trump forces – and Hungary will host another edition of CPAC’s overseas conferences next month.

The Biden administration has mostly declined to comment on Orbán’s meetings with Trump, but the president seized on the visit during remarks Friday evening in the crucial 2024 battleground of Pennsylvania.

“You know who he’s meeting with today, down in Mar-a-Lago? Orbán of Hungary, who stated flatly he doesn’t think democracy works — he’s looking for dictatorship,” Biden told the crowd gathered for what was his effectively his first rally of the 2024 general election campaign.

“That’s who he’s meeting with,” Biden added. “I see a future where we defend democracy, not diminish it.”

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Betsy Klein and Michael Williams contributed to this report.

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