US President Donald Trump repeatedly joked this week about extending his presidency into a third term in order to remain in power during the 2026 World Cup.
During a press conference with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the White House on Sunday, Trump said “we’re going to have to extend my second term because 2026 — I’m going to have to extend it for a couple of years.”
“I don’t think any of you would have a problem with that,” he continued, speaking directly to members of the press corps.
Such an extension would violate the US Constitution. An amendment passed in 1951 restricts presidents to two four-year terms.
The next day, at an election rally in North Carolina, the president again raised the possibility of staying on past the legally mandated two-term limit, stating that when he realized he’d be out of office when the US hosted the international soccer tournament, “I said, well wait a minute. Under the normal rules, I’ll be out in 2024. So we may have to go for an extra term, OK?”
Pointing to reporters covering the rally, he then raised his hand and circled his finger around his temple in a gesture indicating mental incapacity.
“Oh they’re going crazy, they’re going crazy. Tomorrow you’re going to see headlines: ‘Trump wants an extra term! I told you, I told you. He wants it,'” he said with a smirk.
“No. No. I’m only kidding. I’m only kidding.”
He subsequently tweeted an image of a “Trump 2024” campaign sign.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
Since winning election in 2016, Trump has joked about the idea of a third term on a number of occasions. In April, after receiving an award from a veterans’ organization during a ceremony in the Oval Office, Trump stated that it would “find a permanent place, at least for six years, in the Oval Office.”
The crowd laughed and he continued: “I was going to joke, General, and say at least for 10 or 14 years, but we would cause bedlam if I said that, so we’ll say six.”
In May, Trump retweeted a message from evangelical leader Jerry Fallwell Jr. claiming that he deserved “reparations” for the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by his campaign.
“Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup,” Fallwell wrote in the tweet.
After the best week ever for @realDonaldTrump – no obstruction, no collusion, NYT admits @BarackObama did spy on his campaign, & the economy is soaring. I now support reparations-Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) May 5, 2019
He later tweeted that Mueller’s team had “stolen two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back.”
Last Trump, jokingly expressed approval of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s efforts to roll back term limits and establish himself in power for the foreseeable future by stating “he’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great.”
“And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.”