In the latest in a lengthy series of “jokes” that insinuate he will refuse to leave office after his term ends, as documented in a CNN report, Donald Trump again mused about the possibility of serving more than two terms. This time the comment was made during a speech to a pro-Israel group in Hollywood, Florida, on Saturday.
The CNN report recorded three instances between 2018 and June of 2019 in which Trump “joked” about refusing to leave office. Only one president in United States history has served more than two complete terms. That was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected to four terms starting in 1932. Roosevelt died just three months into his fourth term, however.
Following his death, the long-standing tradition that limits presidents to no more than two, four-year terms was added to the Constitution in the form of the 22nd Amendment.
Speaking to the Israeli American Council, Trump told the audience of about 4,300 that he often hears claims in the media that he will refuse to step down after what he assumed would be a second term, in 2024.
“So now we have to start thinking about that, because it’s not a bad idea,” Trump told the crowd, as quoted by The Times of Israel.
The paper reported that the crowd responded to Trump’s comment with a chant of “12 more years!”
Watch Trump make the comments about remaining in office in the video below, courtesy of NBC News.
Experts have warned that Trump, despite claiming that he is simply trying to annoy the media with his talk of defying the Constitution and remaining in the White House after he is legally required to step down, may be masking serious intentions in the form of humor.
Most recently, former CIA psychological profiling specialist Jerrold Post said that his analysis of Trump’s personality traits reveal a “real hazard” that Trump will simply try to cling to power beyond the end of his term.
Earlier, former National Security Council official Joshua Geltzer, currently a law professor at Georgetown University, warned in an interview that if Trump does indeed refuse to leave office — in the event that he loses the 2020 presidential election — there have been no measures taken by Congress, the military, or any other Constitutional institution that could stop Trump’s coup.
In an essay for The Atlantic, writer Peter Nicholas also warned that “Trump thinks of himself as the state,” and as a result, would view any attempt to remove him from the White House — even through the results of an election defeat — as treason against the country.
“That a president won’t step aside when the time comes has always been unthinkable,” Nicholas wrote. “Now it’s a question that’s openly debated — and will take on new urgency in the year ahead.”