The Slatest

Trump Keeps Saying He Could Stay in Power Longer, Urges Crowd to Chant “12 More Years”

Trump, wearing a MAGA hat, points and smiles before a crowd of his supporters
President Donald Trump at a rally at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday. Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Donald Trump keeps making it crystal clear that he thinks it’s hilarious to mention the possibility that he could stay in office beyond the constitutional two-term limit. He was at it again Saturday night as he egged on supporters to change their chant of “four more years” to “12 more years.” In Muskegon, Michigan, the crowd at the Trump rally interrupted the president as he boasted about how the Republican Party is now the “Party of Trump” with a chant of “four more years!” That wasn’t enough for Trump, though. “You really drive them crazy if you say ‘12 more years,’ ” the president said. “Then they say, ‘He is a fascist,’ ‘He is a fascist.’ ” The crowd then dutifully breaks into a chant of “12 more years.”

The president went back to mentioning the possibility of staying on beyond a second term later in his speech. “We’ll be here for four years, and then if we decide to go for an extra four or eight or something,” Trump said with a chuckle. The crowd remembered what he had asked of them before and began chanting “12 more years!”

Later he returned to that same issue during his rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, as he once again seemed to relish the response his words would get. “When someday I leave, whether it’s in four years, eight years, 12 years, 16 years,” Trump said as the crowd clapped and cheered. “Now the story tomorrow will be, with the fake news, ‘He is a fascist,’ ” Trump said.

Trump has often mentioned at rallies the possibility of staying in the presidency beyond two terms. Late last month, Trump complained that “you can’t joke” because the media always cuts away right before he starts laughing. As he claims he is joking about staying in office, Trump also pointedly refuses to commit to accept the results of the November election. In an NBC town hall on Thursday night, Trump committed to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses but still cast doubt on the election. “They spied heavily on my campaign, and they tried to take down a duly elected sitting president, and then they talk about ‘Will you accept a peaceful transfer?’ And the answer is yes, I will, but I want it to be an honest election and so does everybody else,” Trump said. “When I see thousands of ballots dumped in a garbage can and they happen to have my name on it, I’m not happy about it.”