Palm Beach, FL – During a private luncheon speech to Republican donors at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday, President Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his recent moves to consolidate power and extend his political tenure.
“He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, according to a recording obtained by CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”
Trump’s comments followed an announcement from China’s Communist Party that it will be voting this week to alter the country’s constitution to abolish term limits — a move that would theoretically secure Xi as president indefinitely.
In a report for Vox, Carl Minzner, a professor at Fordham Law School, explained:
With the removal of these term limits in the constitution, that also sets up the likelihood — the extremely strong likelihood — that going forward, Xi Jinping is likely to serve in all three roles [head of state, general secretary of the Community Party, and head of the military] indefinitely into the future, which of course would be a significant reversal from recent practice since the beginning of China’s reform era.
CNN reported that during his speech, Trump appeared to reflect that he’d received unfair treatment regarding the ongoing Russian collusion investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in comparison to the lack of legal scrutiny opponent Hillary Clinton received for her activities.
“I’m telling you, it’s a rigged system, folks,” Trump said according to CNN. “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.”
Trump was possibly referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was recently chastised byTrump for opening an OIG investigation into alleged FISA surveillance abuses rather than a criminal probe; Trump described the situation as “DISGRACEFUL” regarding Sessions’ continued refusal to launch a criminal investigation into other potentially criminal activities carried out by Clinton in regards to Uranium One and her private email server.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
Trump’s remarks, which CNN illustrated as “upbeat, lengthy, and peppered with jokes and laughter,” also questioned whether Clinton could be a “happy person” after her loss to Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
“Is Hillary a happy person? Do you think she’s happy?” Trump asked. “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.”
Trump also took aim at former President George W. Bush and the intelligence community that provided false intelligence indicating Iraq possessed WMD’s, labeling the invasion of Iraq “the single worst decision ever made” and likening it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.”
“Here we are, like the dummies of the world, because we had bad politicians running our country for a long time,” Trump proclaimed. “That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush,” he continued sarcastically. “That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. Great intelligence agency there.”