The Slatest

Trump Suggests U.S. Could Follow China’s Lead in Extending Presidency “For Life”

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2018 in National Harbor, MD. This was Trump's second year in a row addressing CPAC, the largest convention of political conservatives in the country.
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2018 in National Harbor, MD.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Donald Trump thinks the United States may be interested in taking an example from China’s government as he praised his counterpart Xi Jinping’s efforts to extend his tenure. “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump told supporters in audio that was aired by CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.” Trump. The crowd of Republican donors who were listening to Trump at a Mar-a-Lago event on Saturday erupted in laughter and applause.

Trump made the comment as China’s national parliament is gathering in Beijing for meetings that are expected to conclude with appointing Xi to a second term as well as implementing a change in the country’s constitution that would allow him to stay in office indefinitely. The comments could very well become another source of tension between the United States and China mere days after Trump said he would impose tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel.

Rep. Ro Khanna took to Twitter to note that regardless of whether it was a joke, “talking about being President for life like Xi Jinping is the most unAmerican sentiment expressed by an American President.”

Although that part of the speech was quite jovial, other parts of Trump’s remarks expose him as someone who remains quite bitter that his continued efforts to put the actions of his 2016 rival under the microscope aren’t quite getting any traction. “I’m telling you, it’s a rigged system folks,” Trump said. “I’ve been saying that for a long time. It’s a rigged system. And we don’t have the right people in there yet. We have a lot of great people, but certain things, we don’t have the right people.”

The commander in chief seemed to be in the mood to psychoanalyze his former rival. “Is Hillary a happy person? Do you think she’s happy?” he said. “When she goes home at night, does she say, ‘What a great life?’ I don’t think so. You never know. I hope she’s happy.”

The president also took the opportunity to criticize former President George W. Bush, calling the invasion of Iraq “the single worst decision ever made” adding that it was akin to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.” He went on: “That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush.”