Impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump in the United States House of Representatives are well underway, with witnesses providing explosive testimony on an almost daily basis. But even if the House approves articles of impeachment against Trump, the Republican-controlled Senate must vote on whether or not to “convict” Trump and remove him from office. That vote requires a two-thirds majority, or 67 Senators. As The Inquisitr has reported, that possibility is considered highly unlikely by most political experts.
What happens if Trump is impeached by the House, but acquitted by the Senate? According to an op-ed essay published Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, Trump should be allowed to run for a third presidential term in 2024.
In the essay, William Mattox of the conservative James Madison Institute — a think tank in Tallahassee, Florida — says that the impeachment process should be similar to the replay “challenge” rule in the National Football League. In the NFL, coaches may challenge referee rulings, but if the challenge is lost, the coach’s team loses one time-out.
Amending the U.S. Constitution to allow presidents to run for a third term if they avoid conviction in an impeachment proceeding would discourage the use of impeachment for “mere politics,” Mattox wrote in the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper owned by the billionaire media mogul and, as CNN has reported, close Trump ally Rupert Murdoch.
Trump has frequently commented in public speeches about his desire to remain in office past the end of what would be his second term, even posting a mock 2024 campaign placard on his social media accounts.
Allowing Trump, or any impeached but acquitted president, the possibility of a third term “would allow him to make up for the time lost advancing the agenda that voters elected him to enact,” Mattox wrote.
Earlier this month an internet rumor went viral, claiming that if the Senate votes to acquit Trump, he would be allowed under the Constitution to run for two additional terms because his first term would be “nullified.” If the rumor was true, Trump could indeed run again in 2024, when he would reach the age of 78.
But as Politifact explained, the rumor is false. The fact-checking site gave the rumor a “pants on fire” rating for its lack of truthfulness.
“The Constitution says nothing about a president’s term being ‘nullified’ by a failed attempt at removal,” Politifact wrote. The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution clearly states, Politifact noted, that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”
The 22nd Amendment was ratified in 1947, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for and won four consecutive terms, in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. Previously, the two-term presidential limit was merely a tradition started by the country’s first president, George Washington, who served two terms but refused to run for a third.