Trump Jokes About Staying in Office for 14 Years

“They’ll go crazy.”

Ting Shen/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

President Donald Trump caused quite the commotion on Sunday after he floated the idea of extending his term by two years, complaining that the first two years of his presidency had been “stolen” by the Russia investigation. The suggestion first appeared when Trump retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr. tweet describing the idea as “reparations.” Trump then echoed Falwell’s claim that the special counsel’s probe had robbed him of his time in office.

Critics and legal experts universally condemned the idea as unconstitutional. 

Now, days after drawing widespread scorn and comparisons to dictators, Trump is suggesting the tweets were just one big joke intended to trigger the media.

At a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, Wednesday, Trump lashed out at the “fakers” in the news media and declared that “in six years”—at the end of his hypothetic second term—”they’re all gonna be out of business.”

“Now, if we want to drive them crazy, I’ll say ‘in 10 years.’ They’ll go crazy,” he said.

“‘See, he is a despot. He is a despot,'” Trump continued, mimicking the media’s reaction. “Well, 10 or 14, let’s see. Whatever we like, right?”

Trump then added, “Watch, it will be headlines tomorrow: ‘Donald Trump wants to break Constitution.'”

The president’s comments come amid serious concerns from Democratic leaders that Trump will not accept the legitimacy of the 2020 election if he’s defeated. Discussing Trump’s Sunday tweets, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an NYU professor who focuses on authoritarian leaders, told the Washington Post, “Everything that he says is a trial balloon—even his, quote, jokes are trial balloons.”

“Authoritarians are continually testing the boundaries to see what they can get away with, and everything he does is a challenge to Democrats to mount some response against him,” she added.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate