Trump praises China’s Xi for extending presidency for life

U.S. President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

United States President Donald Trump expressed approval of China’s decision to remove the two-term limit for the presidency, saying “we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Attending a closed-door fundraiser Saturday, the president commended the move of ruling Communist party in China that effectively allows President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely. “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great,” said Trump. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

It was not clear whether or not the president made the remarks about extending presidency in jest. However, his supporters at the fundraising, which was held at the ballroom of his Mar-a-Lago estate, received his comments with cheers and applause.

Democrat Representative Ro Khanna, commented about Trump’s statements on Twitter, saying, “[W]hether this was a joke or not, talking about being President for life like Xi Jinping is the most unAmerican sentiment expressed by an American President…George Washington would roll over in his grave.”

U.S. Presidents served a maximum of two four-year terms by tradition until President Franklin Roosevelt was elected a record four times, beginning in 1932. In 1951, the U.S. Constitution was amended to limit the presidency to two terms.

Trump also made remarks about other American political figures, including former presidential rival Hilary Clinton and former president George W. Bush during the fundraising event.

He pondered on whether Clinton is a happy person. “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.”

On the other hand, he made sarcastic comments about Bush’s decision to invade Iraq over faulty intelligence about its possession of weapons of mass destruction. “That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush,” Trump said. “That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. You know? Great intelligence agency there.”