Donald Trump has repeatedly told what he says are jokes about the possibility that he will stay in office beyond the two-term limit imposed by the Consitution. Most recently, at a Tuesday rally in Pennsylvania, Trump said that he may remain in the White House for another 29 years, making him 102-years-old.
But on Thursday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee — whose daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, served as the administration’s press secretary — appeared to confirm that Trump does indeed plan to run for what would be an unconstitutional third term in the White House. In fact, as The Independent reported, Huckabee claimed that he has been asked to chair the 2024 Trump re-election campaign.
“Gives me lots of time to plan!” Huckabee said on his Twitter account. But The Independent also noted that Huckabee himself may not have been serious in his seemingly outrageous claim. There has so far been no evidence that Trump is organizing a 2024 campaign.
In fact, the paper noted, Trump faces an uphill battle just to win a second term in 2020. He trails Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden in almost every poll, and also regularly polls behind other top Democrats.
Nonetheless, even if Huckabee was “joking” about Trump’s serving a third term, The Independent reported that some experts say Trump “repeatedly muses about doing so as a means of normalizing the concept before making a serious attempt.”
Huckabee’s “joke” could also fall under the same category of paving the way for normalization of a third term, which would brazenly defy the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In his tweets on Thursday, as quoted by The Daily Mail, Huckabee claimed that Trump would be “eligible” for a third term due to the supposed attempts by former FBI Director James Comey and congressional Democrats to “oust” Trump from the Oval Office.
Trump himself has suggested that he would be entitled to a third term due to having his time in office “illegally stripped away” due to the investigations against him over his reported collusion with Russia in the 2016 campaign, The Independent noted.
There is, however, no provision in the Constitution that allows for such exceptions to the two-term limit imposed by the 22nd Amendment.
The concern that Trump may not relinquish his hold on the office of president, however, has been seen as no joking matter by political and legal experts. On Tuesday, conservative American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein said that the possibility of Trump imposing martial law or even suspending the 2020 elections in order to stay in office, can no longer be seen as “fanciful, alarmist or crazy.”