President Donald Trump joked about extending his presidency beyond his 80th year as he met in the Oval Office with the new reform-oriented head of FIFA about the upcoming World Cup.
The president made the quip – a version of a joke he has made previously when admiring the ‘president for life’ of China – in an Oval Office meeting with the new head of the scandal-plagued FIFA soccer federation.
They were celebrating the upcoming World Cup in North America, which won’t occur until Trump’s two-term limit as proscribed in the Constitution will be long over.
‘So let’s see, 2026. I won’t be here. I won’t be here. Maybe they’ll extend the term,’ the president said, referencing the 22nd Amendment.
President Donald Trump jokes around with a red card during a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, center, and United States Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Trump, 72, would be 80 at the time of the North American event.
Trump made a joke in a similar vein in March, when Chinese President Xi Jinping was proclaimed president for life.
‘He’s now president for life. President for life,’ Trump told Republican donors at his Mar-a-Lago resort. ‘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 some day.’
The comment came after a light-hearted exchange where the head of FIFA, soccer’s international organization, stroked Trump’s ego by talking about the ‘huge’ crowds at the World Cup in Russia and vowing that the one hosted mostly in the U.S. would be the ‘greatest.’
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino (2nd R) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on August 28, 2018
National security adviser John Bolton, left, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner watch as President Donald Trump meets with FIFA president Gianni Infantino and United States Soccer Federation Carlos Cordeiro in the Oval Office of the White House
President Donald Trump holds a U.S. jersey with Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the United States Soccer Federation, as FIFA President Gianni Infantino, left, looks on during a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
FIFA president Gianni Infantino gave Trump several tokens during a meeting in the Oval Office Tuesday, including red and yellow penalty cards that he joked could be useful in Trump’s interactions with the press.
‘Yellow card is a warning, and if you want to kick out someone,’ he joked, presenting the president with a pair of cards – also including a red card, for kicking a player out of the game.
‘So this could be useful, I don’t know that’s for you,’ he joked.
‘I like that,’ said Trump, whose signature line on ‘The Apprentice’ was ‘You’re fired,’ and who has regularly inveighed against members of the ‘Deep State’ working to undermine him from within the government.
Then Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S. Soccer, joked Trump could use it at ‘the next media session.’
In fact Trump’s White House has tried to red card reporters, as it did when it prevented a CNN reporter from covering an ‘open press’ event in the Rose Garden this summer.
Trump also kept a blacklist of disfavored reporters who couldn’t be granted press credentials for his campaign rallies.
Infantino was meeting with Trump to discuss the 2026 World Cup, which the U.S. will be hosting alongside Canada and Mexico.
Infantino predicted the 2026 edition will be the biggest sporting event in the world.
Trump called Infantino, who stepped in after the corruption scandals under prior president Seth Blatter, a ‘highly respected man.’ He also spoke about what the game is called.
‘Soccer is a game, I guess you call it football. But over here, maybe at some point they’ll change the name, I’m not sure. But we’ll see. It’s working very well either way. But I just want to thank Gianni Infantino for being here. He is the president of FIFA and a highly respected man,’ the president said.
He also mentioned his son, Barron.
‘In fact when my son heard he was going to be here, he said, “Dad, I’d like to meet him.'”So you’re pretty famous, right? My son Barron loves soccer and soccer has to be one of the fastest growing sports in the world. And the job you’ve done is really fantastic, Gianni.’