President Donald Trump signaled his approval on Tuesday of an amendment to China’s Constitution that will allow President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely.
“I totally support my good friend, President Xi Jinpingpong (sic), and his determination to do great things for his country no matter how long it takes,” said Mr. Trump. “As a businessman, I know that amazing changes don’t happen in four or eight years, it takes a decade or two. That’s why I’m going to speak to my flunkies in Congress, Mitch and Paul, about getting this same sort of term limit abolishment thing happening here in America.”
China currently allows its leaders to serve up to two consecutive terms of five years each. The Constitutional change suggests that President Xi wants to move his country away from progressive reforms and steer it back to a more autocratic system, like the one China had under dictator Mao Zedong.
While President Trump did not appear to know who Mao was, he did perk up when asked about concerns that China could become a dictatorship again.
“That’s totally fake news. Mr. Xi PomPingPom is only trying to get things done efficiently, that’s all, like the strong man that he is. My friends Vlad Putin and Receptor Erdogan (sic) are also strong men who know how to make things happen. I believe we could learn a thing or two from these great leaders.”
In fact, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan have come under sharp criticism in recent years for tightening their grip on power, while undermining efforts for democratic liberalization in their countries.
Leo Belatsen, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, says he does not think that Mr. Trump has any hope of eliminating presidential term limits in the U.S.. But he was quick to add, “It’s a new world and anything can happen at a time when disrupting another country’s political process is becoming more commonplace. With Russia’s help, maybe President Trump actually could force American democracy to its knees, God forbid.”
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