Trump Jokes About Staying in Office for 14 Years

“They’ll go crazy.”

Ting Shen/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate