Arizona Republicans travel to Hungary for far-right conference
At the Hungarian edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference, Arizona is on center stage as U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar and failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake will share a stage with the leader of a far-right Austrian party founded by former Nazis.
The Freedom Party of Austria, or FPÖ, was founded in 1956 by former officers of the Schutzstaffel, or SS, the paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. The party has staked out far-right policies on immigration, the government and Muslim immigrants.
FPÖ Chairman Herbert Kickl and FPÖ European Parliament member Harald Vilimsky will both speak at CPAC Hungary.
Gosar spoke Thursday during the “Nations First” part of the conference, as did Vilimsky. The session also featured a video message by Arizona U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko and speeches by antisemitic and Islamphobic former Trump aide Michael Anton and Mark Ivanyo, the director of a far-right populist organization that has organized events that have brought white nationalists and politicians together in Phoenix.
Lake will be speaking Friday after the Hungarian minister of defense.
CPAC Hungary will feature a litany of far-right ideologies. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán limited access to the event by traditional news outlets in previous years, a move which was then copied by the U.S. version, with CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp saying they were going “Hungarian” in their approach to media.
Since coming into power in 2010, Orbán has overseen deep changes to the media landscape of his country in what many say as an erosion of press freedoms.
U.S. conservative media entities and modern American conservative politics are playing a major role in the Hungarian event and Gosar, Lake and Lesko will be alongside a number of other U.S. conservatives and far-right personalities.
Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon will be speaking at the event, as will former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker and Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer. Hammer has amplified a number of far-right conspiracy theorists since joining Newsweek.
A number of conspiracy theorists will also be present at the event, including some with ties to far-right extremists.
One of them is Jack Posobiec, who rose to fame by promoting the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory and also has ties to white supremacists. Posobiec has pushed antisemitic content and has met with far-right figures in other countries who have also pushed white supremacist content.
Other speakers have also embraced conspiracy theories, such as Slovenia’s far-right prime minister Janez Jansa, who has refused to admit that Trump lost his election and used his own media empire to push his own extreme views on the “deep state” into the mainstream.
Even more eccentric speakers are listed as well, such as Hiroaki “Jay” Aeba.
Aeba is part of a Japanese cult called Happy Science and has been working for years to build relationships with high power conservatives to create the Japan’s Happiness Realization Party, an ultranational political party aimed at increasing Japan’s population through childbirth.
The cult’s leader claims to be able to channel the spirits of famous people both alive and dead and has claimed that COVID-19 originated on another planet.
This is the second CPAC conference in Hungary, which borders Ukraine and has been blocking EU support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Gosar has been critical of the Ukraine war effort, saying that no more American money should go to the war in Ukraine. He has also promoted an antisemitic website that praised him for opposing the Ukraine conflict.
Hungary has gained international attention for its hardline stances and, in 2021, Orbán’s Fidesz party banned the depiction of homosexuality or gender reassignment in media targeting people under the age of 18. The law similarly bans information from sex-ed programs, films and ads accessible to minors.
During his speech Thursday Orbán said that, if Trump was still president, there would be no war in Ukraine and begged for him to come back and to bring “peace,” to applause from the crowd.
This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.