Rep. Andy Harris takes discreet trip to Budapest to attend far-right Demographic Summit

On September 5 as Hurricane Dorian was approaching the US East Coast, Congressman Harris’s office sent out a message: “Update on the planned flood insurance workshop scheduled in Crisfield this evening: due to pending weather, the event is postponed to a later date. My office will gladly provide updates on rescheduling when they become available.”

Since Congressman Harris represents Maryland’s coastal district, I would have assumed that he was monitoring the situation. The Maryland Department of Transportation prepared for potential flooding along the Eastern Shore and southern Maryland ahead of the storm.

Actually Harris was in Europe to support far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary. He gave a speech at the 3rd Budapest Demographic Summit. (Congressman Harris’s late father, Mr. Zoltán Haris was born in the Hungarian city of Miskolc.)

Congressman Andy Harris is giving his speech at the 3rd Budapest Demographic Summit on September 5, 2019.

Harris talked about financial problems associated with the aging population of the US. By 2030 two-and-a half workers will be needed to support one pensioner. “Life expectancy has increased to 79.3 years while the reproduction ratio dropped from the previous value of 2.1 to 1.72.” He was also worried about Social Security spending rising to 731 billion last year. “This will soon become unsustainable! Looking at it from an economic aspect, population must be boosted at the bottom of the social pyramid, which can only be achieved through childbirth. We have also introduced tax measures for adoptive families, to encourage couples to have more children. Mothers who stay at home with their children also receive a tax break. In the US, 70% of children are born to unmarried mothers. The issue with this is that children born out of wedlock have worse health and educational indicators, and they are more predisposed to turning into young offenders.”

No other US politician attended the Summit; the US Embassy did not send a representative either. However one invited speaker from the US was Sharon Slater the leader of the Arizona-based Family Watch International. Slater claims that homosexuality is a mental disorder derived from childhood trauma, and “conversion therapy” can effectively eliminate same-sex attraction. The Southern Poverty law Center considers her organization an LGBT “hate group.”

I was not surprised that Rep Harris did not advertise his Budapest trip and speech, nor mention it on his website or Facebook page. Hungarian media on the other hand quoted him extensively. (Read report about Andy Harris in Hungarian.)

I hope that Rep. Harris will inform his constituents of his Budapest trip. This would be prudent since many of them thought that he was monitoring Hurricane Dorian. Maryland voters deserve to know why Rep. Harris was compelled to take this unusual and secretive trip to the other side of the globe.

György Lázár

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