President Trump joked about being president for life during a private fundraising dinner at Mar-a-Lago Saturday, and CNN was having none of it this morning.
“The president is maybe thinking about indulging his own authoritarian impulses,” said Errol Lewis, a CNN political commentator.
CNN’s Brian Stelter said that President Trump’s comments, “even if completely a joke, it’s the kind of thing would set off an alarm bell if President Bush or President Obama had said it.”
The comment that triggered reactions came from a Saturday dinner, where Trump said, “Don’t forget China is great and Xi is a great gentleman. 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 someday.” (RELATED: Trump Jokes About Becoming ‘President For Life’ In Private Dinner)
Lewis said, “It’s troubling not just from the point of view of whether or not the president is maybe thinking about indulging his own authoritarian impulses or possibilities, it’s also troubling from the point of view of the many human rights abuses that China has committed that requires someone and that someone has traditionally been the United States to uphold democracy and human rights, that there are people languishing in Chinese prisons today.”
Lewis also added, “The fact that this president in private wants to crack jokes with a bunch of rich people at a country club is very troubling. And it’s disheartening for human rights crusaders. It’s also, I think, sort of a boost and a shot in the arm to dictators and would-be dictators around the world, exactly the wrong message to send.”