Saturday, March 3, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He praised China's President Xi Jinping for becoming "President for life" and suggested that he might do the same.

In remarks at a private fundraiser held at Mar-a-Lago today, Trump said of Xi, "He's now president for life. President for life. No, 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 some day."

Xi is not actually president for life, although he did recently succeed in pushing through rule changes that will allow him to serve as president indefinitely. China's government is fundamentally undemocratic.

Of course, Trump's suggestion that the United States "give that a shot" is a pretty empty threat: Trump is historically unpopular to begin with, and is far more likely to be forced from office before the end of his first term than to serve past the end of a second one. 

It's safe to say that the White House will portray this remark as a joke, but the overall tone of the speech was dark. He once again chose to talk about Hillary Clinton and the "rigged system" he said she was a part of. (Clinton, who beat Trump in the popular vote by nearly three million votes but is not President, may see things differently.) In a comment that is hard not to read as projection, given the avalanche of stories about Trump's emotional state lately, he wondered aloud if Clinton was happy: "When she goes home at night, does she say, 'What a great life?' I don't think so."

Why should I care about this?

  • Becoming a dictator is not something a sitting president should talk about, even as a "joke."