Trump Jokes About Staying in Office for 14 Years

“They’ll go crazy.”

Ting Shen/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump caused quite the commotion on Sunday after he floated the idea of extending his term by two years, complaining that the first two years of his presidency had been “stolen” by the Russia investigation. The suggestion first appeared when Trump retweeted Jerry Falwell Jr. tweet describing the idea as “reparations.” Trump then echoed Falwell’s claim that the special counsel’s probe had robbed him of his time in office.

Critics and legal experts universally condemned the idea as unconstitutional. 

Now, days after drawing widespread scorn and comparisons to dictators, Trump is suggesting the tweets were just one big joke intended to trigger the media.

At a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, Wednesday, Trump lashed out at the “fakers” in the news media and declared that “in six years”—at the end of his hypothetic second term—”they’re all gonna be out of business.”

“Now, if we want to drive them crazy, I’ll say ‘in 10 years.’ They’ll go crazy,” he said.

“‘See, he is a despot. He is a despot,'” Trump continued, mimicking the media’s reaction. “Well, 10 or 14, let’s see. Whatever we like, right?”

Trump then added, “Watch, it will be headlines tomorrow: ‘Donald Trump wants to break Constitution.'”

The president’s comments come amid serious concerns from Democratic leaders that Trump will not accept the legitimacy of the 2020 election if he’s defeated. Discussing Trump’s Sunday tweets, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an NYU professor who focuses on authoritarian leaders, told the Washington Post, “Everything that he says is a trial balloon—even his, quote, jokes are trial balloons.”

“Authoritarians are continually testing the boundaries to see what they can get away with, and everything he does is a challenge to Democrats to mount some response against him,” she added.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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