Donald Trump on Friday held a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the course of a rambling speech that spanned such topics as whether CNN anchor Jake Tapper’s wife likes him, and former Vice President Joe Biden’s speech impediment, Trump, for at least the 28th time in a public address, mentioned that he may remain in office past the end of his constitutionally mandated term.
Earlier this month one journalist and author who has followed Trump’s speeches said that he had counted 27 previous occasions on which Trump threatened to stay past the end of his term.
Though Trump usually frames the threats to remain in office as “jokes,” the purpose of the declarations is to prepare his supporters “not to accept a loss, and thus to lose faith in the likelihood of a peaceful transfer of power,” if he were to be defeated by a Democrat in the 2020 presidential election, according to Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent.
In his rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday, Trump twice alluded to what appears to be his desire to remain in the White House not only past 2020, were he to lose the election, but even beyond 2024 — the last full year of his second term, were he to win one.
Trump jokes about serving more than two terms: "2028. You know what? Unless I'm still president then, which is a distinct possibility." (This has become a standard part of his speeches.) pic.twitter.com/uJLfL1REMi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 21, 2020
In what seemed to be an off-the-cuff monologue in which he congratulated himself for his role in bringing the 2028 Olympic Games to Los Angeles, California — repeating, “Thank you, President Trump,” three times — Trump said that there was a “distinct possibility” that he would still be in office by the time of those Olympics.
If Trump were in office though 2028, he would be in the final year of a third term, in direct violation of the two-term limit imposed by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution. He would also be 82-years-old, approximately four years older than the oldest president ever to leave office. That was Ronald Reagan, whose second term ended on January 20, 1989, when he was about two weeks short of 78-years-old.
Later in the speech, with members of the 1980 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team gathered on the podium behind him, Trump again “joked” about serving “12 more years,” as quoted by Vox reporter Aaron Rupar, via his Twitter account.
Also, Trump repeated his complaint first made on at a rally in Colorado on Thursday, in which he bemoaned the fact that Parasite, a film made in South Korea, with actors speaking the Korean language, won the Best Picture award at the February 9 Oscars ceremony.