NY Consul Ferenc Kumin says Hungarian-American critics of the Orbán government need psychological help

Hungary’s diplomats in the US generally don’t respond to criticism coming from the Hungarian-American community. They expect that Americans of Hungarian origin will hold back their critique of Prime Minister Orbán’s policies. Now, Mr. Ferenc Kumin Consul General in New York has gone one step further, he has insulted those who offer differing views.

In a recent interview with Inforadio in Budapest Mr. Kumin voiced frustration with Americans of Hungarian origin who criticize his government. He said that he doesn’t understand what motivates these people, and came to the conclusion that they need “psychological help.” He added, “there are strange people everywhere.”

At first, I didn’t believe that an accredited diplomat to the US would insult Americans this way but here is the link. If you understand Hungarian, hear it for yourself. (Listen to the radio program from min 16:00)

Mr. Ferenc Kumin Consul General in New York suggests psychological help to critics of his government.

Mr. Ferenc Kumin Consul General in New York suggests psychological help to critics of his government.

Mr. Kumin’s attack is uncalled for and impolite especially since US diplomats always approach Hungarian issues with respect and sensitivity; a seasoned diplomat would never attack the citizens of his or her host country in the media. It seems to me that the issue is related to Hungary’s recent reorganization of its Foreign Ministry. In the process senior diplomats were forced to retire and replaced by novices, most of whom have never served abroad.

Mr. Kumin fits the bill. For years he diligently served on PM Orbán’s communication staff where he never questioned or protested his commands. Now he has gotten his reward. A couple of months ago the ambitious 40-year old was sent to New York as the senior diplomat without any previous experience in diplomacy.

Hungarian-American relations are at a low point. Budapest should try to make every effort to send capable senior diplomats to the US. Mr. Kumin insults won’t improve relations, in fact, it assures further alienation of Hungarian-Americans.

György Lázár

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