Melania Trump sports an all white suit to join husband Donald for glitzy Mar-a-Lago dinner with Hungarian autocrat leader Viktor Orban who brands her ‘Pretty Woman’ as he skips White House visit to rub elbows with GOP

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Melania Trump made a rare appearance alongside Donald at Mar-a-Lago for a formal dinner hosting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
  • The former first lady, dressed in an all-white pant suit, has been notably absent during her husband’s 2024 election campaign
  • Donald Trump continued his support for autocratic leaders like Orbán, known for advocating restrictive policies on immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, press freedoms

Melania Trump was serenaded to the sounds of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman on Friday night as she was seen alongside her husband Donald Trump for a formal dinner at Mar-a-Lago as the former president played host to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

The Hungarian leader appeared quite taken by the former first lady as he posted footage of her to Instagram with the caption ‘Pretty Woman’ while also presenting her with a huge bouquet of flowers, much to her surprise. 

It was a rare sighting of Melania who sported an all-white pant suite at the glitzy affair. She has barely been seen by her husband’s side during the 2024 election campaign at all.

Orbán posted to his Instagram account footage of him and his staff meeting with Trump and the former president’s staff, then of the prime minister walking through the compound, taking photos of everything from a framed Time Magazine shocasing Trump to a bottle of Trump-branded water. 

He could then be seen handing Melania Trump a giant bunch of flowers in what was a carefully orchestrated charm offensive. 

Later in the video, Trump praised Orbán to a laughing crowd. 

‘He´s a non-controversial figure because he says, “This is the way it’s going to be,” and that’s the end of it. Right?’ Trump said of the Hungarian prime minister. ‘He’s the boss.’

Melania Trump was serenaded to the sounds of Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman on Friday night as she was handed a bouquet of flowers by Hungarian autocrat leader Viktor Orban

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could be seen handing Melania Trump a giant bunch of flowers in what was a carefully orchestrated charm offensive

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could be seen handing Melania Trump a giant bunch of flowers in what was a carefully orchestrated charm offensive

Trump, right, Orbán, center, and Melania would all be seen walking into the ballroom on Friday

Trump, right, Orbán, center, and Melania would all be seen walking into the ballroom on Friday

Melania Trump was seen alongside her husband Donald on Friday night for a formal dinner at Mar-a-Lago at which the former president was hosting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Melania Trump was seen alongside her husband Donald on Friday night for a formal dinner at Mar-a-Lago at which the former president was hosting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán

Melania could be seen in an all-white pant suit as she dutifully followed her husband into the room

On Friday night, both Melania and Donald were given a rapturous reception as they walked into the grand ballroom at the beachfront compound.

The former president reached out to shake the hand of some of his supporters, while his wife walked closely behind him, flashing a smile at one point.

Trump, as the likely Republican presidential nominee has continued his embrace of autocratic leaders who are part of a global pushback against democratic traditions .

Orbán has become an icon to some conservative populists for championing what he calls ‘illiberal democracy,’ replete with restrictions on immigration and LGBTQ+ rights.

He has also cracked down on the press and judiciary in his country and rejigged the country’s political system to keep his party in power while maintaining the closest relationship with Russia among all European Union countries. 

In the U.S., Trump´s allies have embraced Orbán´s approach. 

On Thursday, as foreign dignitaries milled through Washington, D.C., ahead of President Joe Biden´s State of the Union address, Orbán skipped the White House and instead spoke at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank overseeing the 2025 Project, the effort to create a governing blueprint for Trump’s next term . 

‘Supporting families, fighting illegal migration and standing up for the sovereignty of our nations. This is the common ground for cooperation between the conservative forces of Europe and the U.S.,’ Orbán wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after his Heritage appearance.

The couple entered to cheers and applause as they walking through the Mar-a-Lago ballroom

The couple entered to cheers and applause as they walking through the Mar-a-Lago ballroom

Those gathered took out their phones to snap a picture of the couple. Trump could be seen shaking hands with supporters

Those gathered took out their phones to snap a picture of the couple. Trump could be seen shaking hands with supporters

Trump's supporters appeared happy to see the couple walking in together

Trump’s supporters appeared happy to see the couple walking in together

At one point the former first lady almost appeared to be smiling as she observed the crowd

At one point the former first lady almost appeared to be smiling as she observed the crowd

Former President Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pose for photos at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on Friday night

Former President Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban pose for photos at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida on Friday night

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during their meeting at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during their meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida

Trump and Orbán are seen talking during their meeting at Mar-a-Lago on Friday

Trump and Orbán are seen talking during their meeting at Mar-a-Lago on Friday

The meeting between Trump and Orbán comes as the former president has continued to embrace authoritarians of all ideological stripes.

The meeting between Trump and Orbán comes as the former president has continued to embrace authoritarians of all ideological stripes.

Orbán then flew to Florida, where met Trump late on Friday afternoon a Mar-a-Lago. 

Orbán’s approach appeals to Trump’s brand of conservatives, who have abandoned their embrace of limited government and free markets for a system that sides with their own ideology, said Dalibor Rohac, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

‘They want to use the tools of government to reward their friends and punish their opponents, which is what Orbán has done,’ Rohac said.

The meeting also comes as Trump has continued to embrace authoritarians of all ideological stripes. 

In the past Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. 

Orbán´s government has reciprocated, repeatedly praising the former president.

Trump praised Orbán to a laughing crowd. 'He's a non-controversial figure because he says,

Trump praised Orbán to a laughing crowd. ‘He’s a non-controversial figure because he says, “This is the way it’s going to be,” and that’s the end of it. Right?’ Trump said of the Hungarian prime minister. ‘He’s the boss.’

Trump appeared in the same ballroom as on Tuesday night where he delivered his victory speech in the gilded splendor of Mar-a-Lago's Grand Ballroom

Trump appeared in the same ballroom as on Tuesday night where he delivered his victory speech in the gilded splendor of Mar-a-Lago’s Grand Ballroom

Melania Trump was at Donald Trump's side when he announced a second White House bid in November but has not been seen on the campaign trail at all

Melania Trump was at Donald Trump’s side when he announced a second White House bid in November but has not been seen on the campaign trail at all

Orbán appeared to be taken in by the Trump brand who posted a picture a of a bottle of Trump-branded water

Orbán appeared to be taken in by the Trump brand who posted a picture a of a bottle of Trump-branded water

Orbán was able to walk the corridors of Mar-a-Largo where he came across a framed copy of Time Magazine featuring Trump on the cover

Orbán was able to walk the corridors of Mar-a-Largo where he came across a framed copy of Time Magazine featuring Trump on the cover 

A framed oil-painting of Trump seen in his coat together with his signature red tie

A framed oil-painting of Trump seen in his coat together with his signature red tie

On Friday, Hungary´s Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó, posted from Palm Beach, hailing Trump’s ‘strength’ and implying that the world would be more peaceful were he still president.

‘If Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States in 2020, the war in Ukraine, now in its third year, would not have broken out and the conflict in the Middle East would have been resolved much faster,’ he wrote.

Orbán has served as Hungary’s prime minister since 2010. 

The next year, his party, Fidesz, used its two-thirds majority in the legislature to rewrite the nation’s constitution. 

Orbán was a featured speaker at the 2022 CPAC event, after which he met Trump at the former president's New Jersey golf course

Orbán was a featured speaker at the 2022 CPAC event, after which he met Trump at the former president’s New Jersey golf course

Trump and Orban are seen posing at Trump's estate in Bedminster, New Jersey in August 2022

Trump and Orban are seen posing at Trump’s estate in Bedminster, New Jersey in August 2022

It changed the retirement age for judges, forcing hundreds into early retirement, and vested responsibility for appointing new judges with a single political appointee who was widely accused of acting on behalf of Fidesz.

Fidesz later authored a new media law and set up a nine-member council to serve as the country’s media regulator. 

All nine members are Fidesz appointees, which media watchdogs say has facilitated a major decline in press freedom and plurality.

The country’s legislative lines have been redrawn to protect Fidesz members and no major news outlets remain that are critical of Orbán’s government, making it almost impossible for his party to lose elections, analysts say.

Orbán backed Trump’s reelection effort and has had frosty relations with the Biden administration, which pointedly did not invite Hungary to a summit on democracy it organized after the president took office. 

Former president Donald Trump met Orban, in the Oval Office in May 2019. At the time, Trump called Orban 'a respected man' but also said he was 'a little bit controversial,' comparing him to himself

Former president Donald Trump met Orban, in the Oval Office in May 2019. At the time, Trump called Orban ‘a respected man’ but also said he was ‘a little bit controversial,’ comparing him to himself

Hungarian officials have accused Biden’s ambassador to the country, former human rights lawyer David Pressman, of interfering in internal governmental affairs.

The Hungarian leader also has enthusiastically boosted Trump’s latest presidential campaign, posting a message encouraging Trump to ‘keep fighting’ after he was hit with the first of what would be four criminal cases against him last year. Last week, Orbán declared that a win by the former president would be ‘the only serious chance’ for ending the war in Ukraine.

The Hungarian leader also met with Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser who remains a vocal ally of the ex-president and is active in global populist circles.

Orbán’s visit this week comes after he signed a new National Sovereignty Law that penalizes any foreign support of political actors in Hungary, part of the prime minister’s longstanding battle against the European Union and international nonprofits criticizing his erosion of Hungary’s democracy.

Orbán is one of a small group of conservative populists who have publicly aligned themselves with U.S. conservatives trying to oust Biden in November. 

Fiery, right-wing populist president of Argentina, President Javier Milei spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington last month

Fiery, right-wing populist president of Argentina, President Javier Milei spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington last month

The Hungarian leader also met with Steve Bannon this week, a former Trump adviser who remains a vocal ally of the ex-president and is active in global populist circles

The Hungarian leader also met with Steve Bannon this week, a former Trump adviser who remains a vocal ally of the ex-president and is active in global populist circles

Orbán also met with Vivek Ramaswamy in an Instagram photo posted on Thursday

Orbán also met with Vivek Ramaswamy in an Instagram photo posted on Thursday

Last month, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele and Argentine President Javier Milei spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington.

Orbán was a featured speaker at the 2022 event, after which he met Trump at the former president’s New Jersey golf course.

Several conservative populists have won European elections in recent years, including in Italy and Sweden. But leaders in those countries have remained staunch opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, not battled with the European Union government or taken steps that alarm democracy advocates as Orbán has.

Orbán is not very religious but has become a hero to Christian conservatives for his hardline stances, much like Trump.

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