NY Times: Trump ‘has a problem with democracy’

NY Times: Trump ‘has a problem with democracy’
© Getty Images

The New York Times editorial board published a scathing critique of President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE on Sunday after he reportedly praised Chinese President Xi Jinping during remarks at a private event, accusing Trump of "reflexively" celebrating authoritarianism.

The editorial, "Donald Trump Sure Has a Problem With Democracy," comes after Trump praised China’s Community Party for abolishing presidential term limits, effectively giving Xi power indefinitely.

“He's now president for life. President for life. No, he's great," Trump reportedly told Republican donors during a closed-door event in Florida. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll give that a shot someday."


The New York Times editorial board said the president's reported comments are reflective of his general world outlook.

"There’s something in the man that impels him reflexively to celebrate the authoritarian model," the editorial board wrote.

“Mr. Trump was surely joking about becoming president for life himself. But there can be little doubt now that he truly sees no danger in Mr. Xi’s “great” decision to extend his own rule until death,” the editorial board added. "That craven reaction is in line with Mr. Trump’s consistent support and even admiration for men ruling with increasing brutal and autocratic methods — Vladimir Putin of Russia, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, to name a few."

The editorial board went on to write that Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million ballots in the 2016 presidential election and claimed victory due to the electoral college, “not to mention with some help from Russia."

“It may be understandable that he would be uncomfortable with democracy,” the board wrote. 

The editorial also criticized Trump's praise of Xi specifically, noting the Chinese president has enacted increasingly authoritarian measures. 

“On the way to amassing more power for himself, Mr. Xi has moved to crush all rivals, silence all dissent, undermine Chinese institutions, promote a cult of personality, weaken the free market economy, destroy any hint of an independent press and otherwise tighten control over a society that is already among the world’s most restricted,” the board wrote. 

On his own soil, Trump has been “strangely indifferent” to foreign threats, including Russian interference in the 2016 election, the editorial added.

“He has also proven ignorant of and impatient with checks on presidential power, whether they be courts that thwart his unconstitutional actions or a Justice Department that won’t jump to his orders to investigate political rivals,” the board said. 

President George Washington, who was elected two terms reluctantly, warned against tyranny but “Donald Trump just doesn’t get it," the board wrote.