Donald Trump has again mused about serving more than the legal limit of two terms as US president, during an extraordinary exchange with reporters outside the White House.
“What they’re doing, is they’re trying the racist deal. And that’s not going to work, because I am the least racist person ever to serve in office, OK?” Mr Trump said on Wednesday in reference to the New York Times, which has angered him over its renewed focus on racial division in America.
“I am the least racist person. But the New York Times, they’re trying everything they can. It is a totally dishonest newspaper. It’s the paper that really has lost tremendous credibility.”
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“Let me tell you. 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.”
While the president has joked with increasing frequency about continuing as president beyond 2025 – when he would be required by the constitution to step down – his latest reference displayed no clear indication he was attempting be humorous.
It also came on a day in which Mr Trump, even by his standards, dominated the news agenda by veering wildly between partisan attacks, blatant mistruths, and authoritarian proposals.
On Wednesday, he:
- Unveiled new rules that allow the US government to detain migrant children indefinitely while their asylum cases are judged
- Attacked the Danish prime minister for refusing to sell Greenland
- Repeatedly claimed American Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal” to Israel
- Claimed he was the “Chosen One” to fight a trade war with China
- Threatened to release Isis militants into Europe
- Promoted a claim he is considered the “King of Israel” by many Jews
Previous examples of Mr Trump’s flirtation with unlimited term limits include a June tweet in which he floated the idea American voters could demand he stay at the White House beyond 2025.
“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),” he said.
The following month, while railing against media companies he disapproves of, he wrote: “When I ultimately leave office in six years, or maybe 10 or 14 (just kidding), they will quickly go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval, from the public.”
He has also repeatedly tweeted a video meme depicting him campaigning for president throughout the remainder of the 21st century. Until recently it was pinned to the top of his personal Twitter account.
The president has previously suggested he only jokes about remaining as president beyond two terms in an effort to provoke liberals, while critics have suggested he does so with a view to gradually normalising the concept among voters.