Trump Asks Supporters If He Should Be 3-Term President

Gun Rights

During a speech over the weekend, former President Donald Trump, the GOP nominee for president this year, suggested that if he wins, he may seek a third term four years from now, beyond the limits imposed by the U.S. Constitution.

Trump’s comments are further evidence of his desire to use the presidency to become an autocratic leader.

During a speech in Dallas at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting on Saturday, Trump brought up Franklin Roosevelt, the only person to ever win more than two presidential elections. (Roosevelt won a total of four terms, from 1932 to 1944.)

“You know, FDR 16 years — almost 16 years — he was four terms. I don’t know, are we going to be considered three-term? Or two-term?” Trump said, addressing a crowd of thousands of people against gun reform. Some in the audience urged him to seek out a third term.

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The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, passed after Roosevelt’s tenure, explicitly forbids an individual from being elected president more than twice.

Trump has previously told news organizations that he doesn’t have a desire to seek out a third term. But he has also floated the idea of serving longer several times, casting suspicion on his claims that he’s only joking about extending his stay in the White House.

In 2018, for example, during a closed-door event at Mar-a-Lago, Trump said “maybe we’ll have to” consider a president-for-life scenario for him, alluding to a desire to have the same tenure as Chinese President Xi Jinping. That same year, during a meeting with congressional Republicans, Trump asked whether the presidency should “go back to 16 years.”

In 2019, Trump retweeted a message from right-wing figure Jerry Falwell Jr. on social media in which Falwell said that Trump “should have 2 yrs added to his term as pay back” for the Russia election interference investigation that was headed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump added his own message to the post, wrongly agreeing that the two years had been “stollen” [sic] from him.

Presidents before Trump have faced inquiries, but none have suggested that they should have their tenure unconstitutionally extended because of them.

During his 2020 presidential campaign, Trump similarly demanded “another four years” after a second term, falsely claiming that his campaign had been spied on during the 2016 election and that therefore he should be able to serve thrice overall.

Trump has yet to serve a second term in office, with polling suggesting that his race against Democratic nominee incumbent President Joe Biden is currently a statistical tie.

Trump has repeatedly indicated that he plans to flout all the rules that would apply to him should he win in the fall.

Indeed, in recent interviews, Trump has expressed wanting to pass policies — with or without congressional approval — authorizing the construction of immigrant prisons on the southern border and the use of the U.S. military to round up and deport millions of immigrants. He has indicated that he wants to fire U.S. Attorneys who obstruct his attempts to disregard federal law and to use the Justice Department to go after his political opponents. He has also said that he plans to deploy the National Guard to cities across the country “as he sees fit,” and to deny jurisdictions federal funds if he disagrees with how they are used.

In December, Trump openly stated his desire to become a dictator on the first day of his return to the White House, claiming it was necessary in order to implement his racist immigration policies. Although he promised that he’d only be a dictator for one day, short-term dictatorships rarely last for only the amount of time that is promised.

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