By Ana Luiza Albuquerque, a a staff reporter at the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
Rod Dreher first met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 2019, he told me. A conservative writer from the United States, Dreher had traveled to Budapest to speak at a conference about religious liberty. At the end of the event, while the speakers were having lunch, a member of the Hungarian government approached them and said that the prime minister would like to meet everyone. They were all put on a bus and soon encountered Orban. “I thought we would go shake his hand, take a picture, [say] goodbye. He sat down with us for an hour and a half. And in very good English, answered all of our questions,” Dreher said.
At the end of the meeting, according to him, Orban said: “For those of you who are conservative, I hope that you will consider Budapest your intellectual home.” Dreher thought that was a nice idea, but that it would never actually happen. At that time, the prime minister wasn’t yet very popular among Americans. “Well, it’s actually starting to happen,” he said to me. “And they have been putting money into it.”