Donald Trump, who leads a country called the United States of America, thinks China’s president being elevated to god-like status is just great.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Chinese leader Xi Jinping has succeeded in having his own political philosophy, which he calls “Xi Thought,” enshrined into the national party’s constitution and taught in textbooks, to government employees, and broadcasted by state-run media outlets. According to the Times, President Xi — who has only been in office for five years — has now elevated to the same status as Chairman Mao Zedong and challenging Xi or “Xi Thought” is considered tantamount to heresy, following a recent week-long party meeting.
President Trump, who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution during his inauguration just nine months ago, personally congratulated President Xi on his power grab during a conversation between the two leaders.
Spoke to President Xi of China to congratulate him on his extraordinary elevation. Also discussed NoKo & trade, two very important subjects!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017
Trump being a fan of “Xi Thought” isn’t much of a surprise, considering the similarities between Xi’s ideology and Trump’s. The Times’ description of Xi’s political philosophy — and by default, now the guiding philosophy of China itself — sounds a lot like then-candidate Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign motto while stumping for votes in 2016 (emphasis ours):
Restoring China to greatness is a central message of Mr. Xi’s philosophy. That goal already has guided Mr. Xi’s policies of building up the military, strengthening domestic controls and raising China’s profile in global affairs.
Like Xi, Trump has made no secret about his desire to build up the U.S. military even more, despite the U.S. already spending far more on its military than the next eight biggest militaries in the world, combined. The new $700 billion military budget outpaces even the budgets of recent, post-9/11 years, despite there being no major foreign terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in 16 years. Trump is also seeking to tighten domestic controls on immigration, seeking to hire 10,000 new ICE agents and 5,000 more border patrol agents.
President Trump’s troubling affinity for dictators doesn’t stop with Xi Jinping. During his Asia trip, Trump is scheduled to meet with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has proudly compared himself to Adolf Hitler and openly admitted to personally killing people. This is despite Duterte rejecting Trump’s invite to come to the White House, calling America “lousy.” During a phone call earlier this year, Trump congratulated Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job” in the Philippines’ ongoing slaughter of suspected drug users and dealers.
Trump’s praise of Xi and Duterte is merely part and parcel of his flattering words for other dictatorial leaders throughout the world, including Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Despite Amnesty International condemning President Sisi’s secret police for its practice of kidnapping, torturing, and imprisoning protesters, Trump said the Egyptian leader was doing a “fantastic job” as president.
“You have a great friend and ally in the United States and in me,” Trump told Sisi during their meeting in the Oval Office.
President Trump also congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call for his victory in a referendum that granted him sweeping, unchecked powers. The referendum came on the heels of an unsuccessful coup attempt by Turkish military officials.
Trump’s fondness for the Erdogan regime is not surprising, given that the Turkish leader lives in a massive, 1,100-room palace that he built with $615 million in taxpayer money (Trump’s frequent vacations to his personal golf resorts already broke the Secret Service’s budget by August). Erdogan’s government has jailed more than 110,000 protesters since the failed coup attempt, and even detained Amnesty International’s top human rights advocate in Turkey.
The Trump administration is currently prosecuting independent journalist Alexei Wood, who documented the protests in Washington, DC following Trump’s inauguration. Wood is facing 70 years in prison on charges of rioting.
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.