President Donald Trump in a private speech on Saturday praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for recently consolidating power, saying, “Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”
“He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great,” Trump said, according to a recording obtained by CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great.”
Trump made the remarks during a closed-door lunch and fundraiser with Republican donors.
CNN reported that his speech was upbeat and joking at times, but added that Trump also complained about what he views as unfair treatment in the ongoing Russia investigation in comparison to his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“I’m telling you, it’s a rigged system, folks,” Trump said, according to CNN. “I’ve been saying that for a long time. It’s a rigged system. And we don’t have the right people in there yet. We have a lot of great people, but certain things, we don’t have the right people.”
Trump also speculated at one point about Clinton’s life after losing the presidential election.
“Is Hillary a happy person? Do you think she’s happy?” Trump said. “When she goes home at night, does she say, ‘What a great life?’ I don’t think so. You never know. I hope she’s happy.”
Trump also ripped into former President George W. Bush over the Iraq War, calling the invasion “the single worst decision ever made” and likening it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest.”
“That was Bush. Another real genius. That was Bush,” Trump said. “That turned out to be wonderful intelligence. Great intelligence agency there.”
Trump frequently expresses skepticism about US intelligence, and has used its previous failures leading up to the Iraq War to undermine intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.