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16 Jun, 2019 17:35

‘Would people demand I stay longer?’ Trump accused of ‘testing the waters’ for 3rd term

‘Would people demand I stay longer?’ Trump accused of ‘testing the waters’ for 3rd term

The US president sent opponents into frenzy by casually suggesting that he would be popular enough for the Americans to change the constitution and allow him to stay beyond 2024.

The thought was slipped between his usual broadside against the “Failing New York Times” and Washington Post, in which Donald Trump implied that both papers would go out of business once he is no longer in office.

“A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse?” Trump wrote in the first of a double tweet on Sunday morning.


“The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!”

Though it may have been nothing more than a typical Trumpian self-compliment, the addendum in brackets was like catnip to his Democratic opponents, who have long shared theories about the current US president's sights on a lifetime in the Oval Office.

The story was then picked up in the mainstream press, including the Washington Post itself.

Trump himself has been only to happy to stoke the fire, returning to the subject again and again - such as when he joked about following Chinese leader Xi Jinping's abandonment of the two-term limit, and later spoke of serving "three, four, five terms" as well as adding a "bonus time" of two years to his current four-year mandate.

When asked about this directly, Trump has always denied wanting to amend the constitution, saying that the two-term limit is a "good thing" and that he is "not looking to do it."

The two-term limit was only an informal tradition until Franklin D. Roosevelt served three, with the final coming during World War II (Theodore Roosevelt was the closest before him to attempting a bona fide return to the White House).

The 22nd Amendment, passed after FDR, officially restricts American presidents from running for a third term, and could only be reversed through an improbable series of votes at state, then federal level.

Trump's foray into far-fetched and provocative tactics could be treated as a self-boosting distraction from his more pressing problem of winning a more traditional second term in office, after leaked internal Republican poll numbers suggested that the incumbent would lose to Democratic front-runner Joe Biden. Trump's team dismissed them as "ancient news," saying that the surveys had been collected prior even to the release of the Mueller Report in March.

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