BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's prime minister said Thursday he spoke on the phone with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who invited him to Washington.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview published online by Hungarian business daily Vilaggazdasag that Trump made it clear to him "he thinks highly of Hungary."
Orban, frequently criticized by U.S. officials for weakening democratic checks and balances since his 2010 return to power, said in July that Trump's migration policies were better for Europe and Hungary.
Orban, who last year had fences built on Hungary's southern borders to stop the flow of migrants trying to reach Western Europe, said he felt that Hungary's position had "improved greatly" with Trump.
"I think America will now have a president who is not ideologically limited," Orban said. "He is an open person who is much more interested in success, efficiency and results than in political theories."
Orban said this would favor Hungary, whose credit rating was recently upgraded to investment grade by the main ratings agencies, "because the facts favor us."
"Economic cooperation was good until now, too," Orban said. "It was only ideologies that represented obstacles."
Orban said in 2014 that he wants to turn Hungary into an "illiberal state," mentioning countries like Turkey and Singapore as successful examples.
Orban said he told Trump that he had not been to Washington in a long time because he was considered a "black sheep."
"He laughed and said that so was he," Orban remarked.
Orban earlier hailed Trump's victory as "great news," which would allow Western civilization to return to "true democracy and straight, honest talk," freed from the "paralyzing constraint of political correctness."