US President Donald Trump said Saturday he thinks it’s great that China’s president now holds that office for life and mused that maybe the US will do the same someday.
Trump’s comments came during a luncheon for Republican donors Saturday at his South Florida estate. CNN reported the remarks based on a recording it obtained.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is poised to make a historic power grab as China’s legislators gather from Monday to approve changes that will let him rule indefinitely and undo decades of efforts to prevent a return to crushing dictatorship.
This year’s gathering of the ceremonial National People’s Congress has been overshadowed by Xi’s surprise move — announced just a week ago — to end constitutional two-term limits on the presidency. The changes would allow Xi, already China’s most powerful leader in decades, to extend his rule over the world’s second largest economy possibly for life.
Trump told the gathering: “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great.”
Trump added: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”
In his remarks, Trump criticized his Democratic presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, repeated his view about “a rigged system,” and called the invasion of Iraq “the single worst decision ever made.”
He also referred to former President George W. Bush as “another real genius.”
“Here we are, like the dummies of the world, because we had bad politicians running our country for a long time,” said Trump, likening the Iraq invasion to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.”
“That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush,” Trump said. “That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. You know? Great intelligence agency there.”