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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DONALD TRUMP & DEMOCRACY

Mother Jones was founded to do things differently in the aftermath of a political crisis: Watergate. We stand for justice and democracy. We reject false equivalence. We go after, and go deep on, stories others don’t. And we’re a nonprofit newsroom because we knew corporations and billionaires would never fund the journalism we do. Our reporting makes a difference in policies and people’s lives changed.

And we need your support like never before to vigorously fight back against the existential threats American democracy and journalism face. We’re running behind our online fundraising targets and urgently need all hands on deck right now. We can’t afford to come up short—we have no cushion; we leave it all on the field.

Please help with a donation today if you can—even just a few bucks helps. Not ready to donate but interested in our work? Sign up for our Daily newsletter to stay well-informed—and see what makes our people-powered, not profit-driven, journalism special.

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