‘There will never be a peaceful transition of power’: 18 times Trump said he won’t leave the Oval Office

  • 02/17/2020 9:28 am ET M. Zlatos
'Off with their heads': Trump admin strong-arms GOP Senators demanding votes in the President's favor

Source / Time Magazine

Donald Trump has repeatedly said he won’t leave if he loses in 2020 — and he’ll simply keep running for president, even after his two-term limit is up.

He says he’s “just kidding.” But is he?

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” said his former fixer Michael Cohen a year ago, as he was testifying to Congress. Others feared the same.

“He’s not going to respect the election,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

So, are these 18 instances all “jokes”—or is Trump deadly serious?

1. Stupid is as stupid does

18 Times Trump Said He Won’t Leave the Oval Office

Flickr / Scott Spiegel

On December 7, 2019, Trump gave a speech to the Israeli-American Council. In that speech, he said,

“These people are so stupid. One of them said, ‘you know he’s going to win, don’t you, and you know at the end of his second term, you know he’s not leaving. He’s not leaving, you know that.’ I thought he was kidding, he’s for real. So now we have to start thinking about that because it’s not a bad idea.

2. Driving them crazy

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Screenshot / YouTube

On May 20, 2019, Trump detailed how he planned to continue running, in a Make America Great Again rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania.

“We ran one time and we’re 1-and-0 — but it was for the big one. Now we’re going to have a second time. And we’re going to have another one. And then we’ll drive them crazy. And maybe if we really like it a lot — and if things keep going like they’re going — we’ll go and we’ll do what we have to do. We’ll do a three and a four and a five.”

3. Stuck like glue

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Source: Kremlin

On June 10, 2019, Trump compared himself to Nixon. He decided that he was better than Nixon because Nixon resigned.

“He left. I don’t leave. Big difference. I don’t leave. We did nothing wrong except create the greatest economy in the history of our country. We did nothing wrong except rebuild our military like nobody’s ever seen before.”

4. Looking for an extension

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Screenshot / CBS News

On April 12, 2018, Trump joked in a press conference about extending the term limits for the presidency.

“Should we go back to 16 years? Congressman, can we have that extended? Last time I jokingly said that, the papers started saying ‘He’s got despotic tendencies.’ I’m not looking to do it.”

5. Hey, it’s what they want

Screenshot / YouTube

On June 16, 2019, Trump tweeted a long, rambly thread. Nestled in that thread was a question.

“Do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT,” he tweeted.

6. Trump: 3000

Source / Wikipedia

On June 21, 2019, Trump tweeted a video from Time Magazine that showed his campaign signs extending from 2020 to 2024 all the way into infinity.

7. President for life

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Screenshot / YouTube

On March 3, 2018, Trump praised the Chinese president Xi Jinping, who became president for life under the Chinese Communist Party.

“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” he said. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”

8. 29 years…

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Screenshot / YouTube

On December 10, 2019, Trump had another joke at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He wanted to try to be president for as long as 29 years.

“Should we give it a shot? Maybe we will. I’m only kidding,” he told the audience.

9. Who’s crazy?

Source / Screenshot

On May 8, 2019, Trump dropped another “joke” at a rally in Panama City Beach in Florida.

“Now if we want to drive them crazy, I’ll say in ten years. They’ll go crazy. See, he is a despot! He is a despot! Well, ten or fourteen, let’s see, whatever we want. Watch, it’ll be headlines tomorrow. Donald Trump wants to break the constitution.”

10. Shooting for a third term

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Source / Wikimedia

In a June 23, 2019 interview with Meet the Press on NBC, Trump had an interesting take for host Chuck Todd.

“I said, ‘Watch, we’ll drive the media crazy. Let’s go for a third term and then a fourth.'”

11. And more terms

Screenshot / YouTube

In a press conference on August 21, 2019, Trump went after one of his favorite targets: The New York Times. But he had an interesting prediction.

“In six years — or maybe 10 or maybe 14, right? — in six years, when I’m not here, the New York Times goes out of business very quickly,” he bragged.

12. Twelve years a MAGA

How many times can Trump make the same joke before it smacks of truth?

Source: Pixabay

At a political speech in North Carolina on February 7, 2020, the crowd started to chant, “12 more years!”

Trump responded to his audience, “If you want to drive them crazy go ’12 more years,’ ’16 more years’ … look at all the fake news back there.”

13. Acquittal apparently means no rules

Screenshot / YouTube

After the Senate voted to acquit Trump in February 2020, he tweeted the same Time Magazine video that showed him running until the year 50,000 that he shared in 2019.

14. Is it permanent?

Screenshot / YouTube

At an event for the Wounded Warrior Project on April 17, 2019, Trump had yet another “joke” for the audience. When he was presented with a trophy, he said, “This will find a permanent place, at least for six years, in the Oval Office. Is that okay?”

Then he added, “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.”

15.  No need for elections

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Source / U.S. Air National Guard

On August 13, 2019, Trump addressed a rally in Western Pennsylvania, in a speech that was supposed to be about energy. But of course, he couldn’t help himself.

“Can you imagine if these people treated me fairly? The election would be over. Have they ever called off an election before? Just said, ‘Look, just — let’s go. Go on. Four more years.’ Yeah. And then, you want to really drive them crazy? Go to “#thirdterm”; “#fourthterm.” You’ll drive them totally crazy.”

16. Just go ahead and add another four

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Flickr: Gage Skidmore

In a private meeting with American diplomats towards the end of August 2019, Trump spoke about what his re-election campaign was trying to do. It was hard to tell if this was supposed to be another “joke.”

He said they were “looking good for another four years, and then if we want to another four.”

17. Trump 2024

Unsplash Credit: Darren Halstead

On September 10, 2019, the president tweeted an image that simply said, “Trump 2024.”

18. A little something extra

Screenshot / YouTube

In a speech given in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on September 9, 2019, Trump talked about the 2026 World Cup.

“We’ve got a problem,” he said. “It’s in 2026. And 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.”

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