The United States Senate on Wednesday concluded the impeachment trial of Donald Trump by voting to acquit on both articles against him, with a vote that went along party lines, with one notable exception. Utah Senator Mitt Romney became the one Republican to break from his party and voted to convict Trump.
Nonetheless, Trump quickly took to Twitter where he celebrated his acquittal — which allows him to remain in office — by posting a meme clearly implying that he will remain president until at least the year 2048. That would give him another 28 years, or seven more terms, and take Trump to the age of 102. But the tweet also appeared to say that Trump could remain in office longer than those seven terms, even forever — or as the word appears in the tweet, “4Eva.”
To do so, Trump would need to defy the United States Constitution, which in the 22nd Amendment mandates that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice,” according to The National Constitution Center.
While tradition had dictated a two-term limit on presidents since the country’s founding, the 22nd Amendment codified the term-limit into law after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected to four terms, in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944. But Roosevelt died of a stroke less than three months into his fourth term, at age 63.
Trump’s alleged defiance of the Constitution was a central issue in his impeachment. In a closing argument at the impeachment trial, lead House Manager Adam Schiff accused Trump of having “betrayed his oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” as quoted by United Press International.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2020
But Wednesday’s celebratory tweet was only the latest in a series of statements or posts in which Trump has threatened to defy the dictates of the U.S. Constitution by refusing to leave office and running for more than two terms.
Conservative scholar Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute warned in December that Trump would “do anything” to remain in power. Trump may even “suspend the election” or declare martial law in the U.S. if it appears that he may lose the 2020 vote, Ornstein said.
Journalist Amanda Marcotte also warned that should Trump take such extreme measures to hold the presidency even if he were to lose the election, “no one is here to save you,” adding that “Democrats need a real plan” to remove Trump from office if he refuses to honor his Constitutional obligation to step down, either after losing the 2020 election, or at the conclusion of his second term should he win reelection in November.
Though Romney voted to convict Trump on the article of impeachment accusing him of abusing the power of his office, Romney voted to acquit on the second article, which charged Trump with obstructing the congressional impeachment investigation.