Trump Suggests Changing The Constitution To Allow Him To Be President For 16 Years Or Longer
In March, President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for securing a lifelong presidency, saying, “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.” This remark did not go over well with most Americans, especially those in the news media. CNN’s Chris Cillizza pointed out Trump’s affinity for leaders with “despotic tendencies.”
Last week, Trump, once again, joked about prolonging his presidency beyond two terms. While bragging about how many regulations he has cut so far, Trump said:
“We’ve cut more regulations in a year and a quarter than any administration, whether it’s four years, eight years or, in one case, 16 years. Should we go back to 16 years? Congressman, can we have that extended? The last time I jokingly said that, the papers started saying ‘he’s got despotic tendencies!’ No, I’m not looking to do it, unless you want to do it.”
Of course, this would never happen. In the 231 years since the Constitution was signed, there have only been 27 amendments and the first ten were all added at the same time. One of those amendments was to limit the presidents to two terms. In fact, it was Conservatives–Republicans and Southern Democrats–who made it possible so that they could “invalidate Roosevelt’s legacy.” As historian James MacGregor Burns wrote for the New York Times:
“With majorities in both chambers of Congress, Republicans, joined by Southern Democrats opposed to the New Deal, were able to push the 22nd Amendment through the House (after only two hours of debate!) and the Senate (after five days of debate). At the time, an amendment limiting presidents to two terms in office seemed an effective way to invalidate Roosevelt’s legacy, to discredit this most progressive of presidents.”
Trump should also check a history book. Although Roosevelt was elected to a fourth term, he died in 1945, after serving 12 years as president, not 16.
Finally, if Trump were somehow able to win the next three elections, he would be 96 when his term ended.
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) April 12, 2018