The mainstream media erupted Saturday evening after CNN reported that President Donald Trump allegedly joked about becoming “president for life” during a recent closed-door meeting with donors.
Some on the left claimed it was evidence that Trump is a tyrant and the United States is becoming less democratic. However, those claims and the left’s reaction don’t capture the context of Trump’s comments or what he likely meant by them.
During a meeting with Republican donors on Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for recently consolidating his presidential powers and essentially making himself president indefinitely.
Senior Chinese officials last month proposed eliminating wording from the country’s constitution that set term limits for its president and vice president at two consecutive, five-year terms.
Trump said of Xi’s move: “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.”
But the context of Trump’s comments is important. Even as CNN admits, it was during an ad lib session with donors, where there were many jokes and much laughter. After Trump’s praise of Xi’s move, the crowd erupted into laughter — making it clear the audience believed the comment was only a joke.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment, Reuters reported.
Listen to the audio below: