The US President only had words of approval concerning Chinese President Xi Jinping’s tenure “for life.” China’s Communist party recently made the announcement that the limit of two terms on the presidency is to be abolished, which means that President Xi may rule for an indefinite period.
CNN aired excerpts of comments made by Mr. Trump in a private luncheon/fundraiser in Florida on March 3, concerning the newest developments in China’s leadership. In the audio recording, Mr. Trump is heard to say, “He’s now president for life, president for life. And 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 someday,” while the audience applauded and cheered.
When requested for a comment, the White House declined to make a statement, and it is still unknown whether Mr. Trump made his remarks as a joke.
However, Mr. Trump was criticized on social media for these remarks. Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna called the Presidents remarks “the most unAmerican sentiment expressed by an American President,” levity notwithstanding. Mr. Khanna said that these comments would cause the nation’s first President, George Washington, “to roll over in his grave.”
US laws state that presidents are only allowed to serve for two terms. The exception to this was President Franklin Roosevelt, who served four terms. Anyone wishing to change this would fight a tough battle, since amending this would need support from two thirds of the Senate and Congress, or two thirds of state legislative bodies, and then ratification from 75 percent of all the states.
China’s Communist Party declared the abolition of the the two-term limit for the presidency on February 25, and parliament, which meets again today, March 5, is believed to be prepared to ratify this. President Xi is expected to work toward avoiding fiscal risks while keeping the economy strong.
In his speech in Florida, President Trump also called President Xi “a great gentleman” who was “the most powerful (Chinese) president in a hundred years,” and lauded him for treating him “tremendously well” during Mr. Trump’s visit in November 2017.
Two months ago, Mr. Trump said that the US was thinking of imposing a hefty fine on China for the reported thievery of intellectual property. The US President has also been censorious of the trade policies of China in the past, and said in December of 2017 that due to the situation in North Korea, he had gone soft on China “because the only thing more important to me than trade is war.”
Some netizens argued that this may be a good move on China’s part, especially if President Xi is doing a good job
Others were more alarmed at this latest development.