President Donald Trump recently commented on Xi Jinping’s move to become China’s “president for life.” Several media outlets are calling Trump’s comments on Saturday as “just joking” and assume that the White House will “inevitably” agree, but critics still say the comments were very “unAmerican” — joke or not.
According to CNN in a Saturday report, President Donald Trump, 71, spent some of his time at his Mar-a-Lago beach house this weekend to give a speech to donors that effectively said that he thinks “it’s great” that China’s current president, Xi Jinping, recently made a move to become an authoritarian leader.
During the speech, that reportedly took place privately at a lunch and fundraiser for Republican donors, President Trump declared Xi Jinping a “great” man for being able to become “president for life.” CNN was reportedly able to obtain a recorded copy of President Trump’s remarks about the Chinese politician, who’s been President of China for nearly five years already.
“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”
The New York Times reported on February 25 that China actually wants President Xi Jinping, 64, to “remain in office indefinitely” and made a move on Sunday, February 25, to abolish the five-year term limits, with only two consecutive terms, for both the President and Vice President of China’s Communist Party.
The New York Times report goes on to say that the proposal to make Xi Jinping China’s president for life will more than likely pass during this month’s annual meeting of the parliament. The Indian Express reported on Friday that making Xi Jinping president for life is “top of the agenda” when the National People’s Congress meets on Monday for the two-week session.
Reuters wrote on Friday that China made an “attack” statement against the West, saying that “certain people” in the West are “stuck in the Cold War era” and are “prejudiced against China.” However, that statement made by the leader of China’s parliament body, Wang Guoqing, didn’t deter President Donald Trump from praising Xi Jinping’s move to become China’s president for life.
The previously mentioned CNN article speculates that President Trump “wouldn’t mind making such a maneuver himself,” and another New York Times report from February 25 speculates that President Trump is actually “jealous” of Xi Jinping and the “lack of democracy in China.”
The New York Times article quoted the author of a book called The China Fantasy, James Mann, who said that President Trump might decide to include himself in the short list of “increasingly influential” world leaders who have extended tenures as presidents, including Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
James Mann goes on to allege that President Donald Trump has never openly supported the U.S. Constitution, independence of the U.S. court system, or freedom of the press since he took office on January 20, 2017.
Several media outlets have since called President Trump’s comments on Saturday about America possibly trying out monarchy or dictatorship as a form of government just a “joke.” Vox noted in a Sunday report that President Donald Trump’s remarks in support of Xi Jinping’s move to get rid of presidential term limits by changing the country’s constitution as “probably a joke.”
In the meantime, media outlets on Twitter speculated that the White House will “inevitably” claim that President Trump’s comments were “just joking.” However, Newsweek writes that the White House had not yet responded to Trump’s comments as of late Saturday, adding that it’s “not clear” if Trump’s comments were made “in jest.”
A Sunday report on the Hill lists some of President Donald Trump’s “most memorable jokes” during the Saturday Gridiron Club dinner and speech in Florida, and Trump’s comments about Xi Jinping possibly becoming China’s president for life were not included.