Trump praises Chinese president extending tenure 'for life'

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday after the ruling Communist party announced it was eliminating the two-term limit for the presidency, paving the way for Xi to serve indefinitely, according to audio aired by CNN.

"He's now president for life, president for life. And he's great," Trump said, according to audio of excerpts of Trump's remarks at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida aired by CNN. "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday," Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters.

U.S. presidents by tradition served a maximum of two four-year terms until President Franklin Roosevelt was elected a record four times starting in 1932. An amendment to the U.S. Constitution approved in 1951 limits presidents to two terms in office.

China’s annual parliament gathering kicks off on Monday as Xi presses ahead with efforts to ward off financial risks without undermining the economy. The Communist party announced on Feb 25 the end of the two-term limit for the president - and the parliament is expected to ratify the move.

RELATED: Inside Trump's meeting with the president 

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President Trump, Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping
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President Trump, Melania Trump with Chinese President Xi Jinping
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and Xi Jinping, China's president, greet attendees waving American and Chinese national flags during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said -- exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that Trump�likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China� President Xi Jinping and China� First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping leave after an opera performance at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania enjoy an opera performance with China's President Xi Jinping at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump looks at first lady Melania Trump next to Chinese President Xi Jinping as they tour the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China?s President Xi Jinping and China?s First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping tour the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China November 8, 2017. Looking on is Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan at left and U.S. first lady Melania Trump at right. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania and China's President Xi Jinping pose with opera performers at the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump tours the Conservation Scientific Laboratory of the Forbidden City in Beijing on November 8, 2017. US President Donald Trump toured the Forbidden City with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on November 8 as he began the crucial leg of an Asian tour intended to build a global front against North Korea's nuclear threats. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Andy Wong (Photo credit should read ANDY WONG/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One in Beijing on November 8, 2017. US President Donald Trump arrived in Beijing on November 8 for the critical leg of his Asia tour to drum up an uncompromising, global front against the nuclear weapons ambitions of the 'cruel dictatorship' in North Korea. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / THOMAS PETER (Photo credit should read THOMAS PETER/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony at the Great hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
U.S. President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Xi Jinping, China's president, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump look on during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said -- exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that Trump�likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Xi Jinping, China's president, left, gestures while standing next to U.S. President Donald Trump, during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said -- exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that Trump�likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BEIJING, CHINA - NOVEMBER 09: The convoy of US President Donald Trump makes its way through Tiananmen Square before the welcome ceremony on November 9, 2017 in Beijing, China. At the invitation of Chineses President Xi Jinping, U.S President Donald Trump is to pay a state visit to China from November 8 to 10. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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During the remarks, Trump praised Xi as "a great gentleman" and added: "He's the most powerful (Chinese) president in a hundred years." Trump said Xi had treated him "tremendously well" during his visit in November.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Saturday.

Trump has often praised Xi, but in January Trump told Reuters the United States was considering a big "fine" as part of a probe into China’s alleged theft of intellectual property. He has been critical of China's trade policies.

Trump told The New York Times in December that because of North Korea he had "been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war." (Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Nick Zieminski)

RELATED: POTUS' approval rating by state 

48 PHOTOS
President Trump's January 2018 approval ratings by state
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President Trump's January 2018 approval ratings by state

Alabama - 63 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Alaska - 48 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Arkansas - 53 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Arizona - 53 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Connecticut - 39 percent

Source: Morning Consult

California - 36 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Colorado - 41 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Delaware - 41 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Delaware - 50 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Delaware - 41 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Hawaii - 30 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Iowa - 43 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Illinois - 37 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Idaho - 53 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Indiana - 53 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Kansas - 50 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Kentucky - 55 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Louisiana - 57 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Maine - 40 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Massachusetts - 32 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Michigan - 42 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Minnesota - 41 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Mississippi - 42 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Missouri - 42 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Montana - 41 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Nebraska - 51 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Nevada - 47 percent

Source: Morning Consult

New Hampshire - 43 percent

Source: Morning Consult

New Jersey - 40 percent

Source: Morning Consult

New Mexico - 38 percent

Source: Morning Consult

New York - 39 percent

Source: Morning Consult

North Dakota - 53 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Ohio - 46 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Oklahoma - 55 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Oregon - 37 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Pennsylvania - 46 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Rhode Island - 37 percent

Source: Morning Consult

South Carolina - 51 percent

Source: Morning Consult

South Dakota - 53 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Tennessee - 56 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Texas - 51 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Utah - 46 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Vermont - 30 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Virginia - 45 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Washington - 36 percent

Source: Morning Consult

West Virginia - 59 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Wisconsin - 42 percent

Source: Morning Consult

Wyoming - 60 percent

Source: Morning Consult

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