In what has been a contentious election year, President Donald J Trump has just ramped up his attacks on his opponent again. Alongside issuing personal attacks against his opponent’s intelligence, Trump alarmed critics of the president’s administration by threatening to write an executive order banning former Vice President Joe Biden from the presidency.
What Did Trump Say?
The threats came at a rally that the president held in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The president, crowing confidently before supporters as he returns to his element on the campaign trail, dropped a few bombshells that has opponents sounding alarm bells. Trump’s opponents have often accused him of fascist-like behavior, and his newest threats don’t do much to dispel that image. Before an adoring crowd, Trump insulted Biden’s intelligence, saying, “He is the worst candidate. The dumbest of all candidates. He is the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics.”
After a brief tangent suggesting Biden is on drugs and that they would perform a drug test before the first presidential debate, Trump dropped the big bombshell. To a cheering crowd, the president quipped, “You can’t have this guy as your president. You can’t have — maybe I’ll sign an executive order, you cannot have him as your president.”
Although it seems that the president is joking, Trump has a history of attempting to follow through on his jokes. What starts out as a little joking and elbow-nudging turns into exploring the possibilities.
Critics Say This is Part of a Pattern And That Americans Should Worry
Said in a vacuum, the comment about using an executive order to ban Biden from the presidency would probably be shrugged off as a joke made in poor taste. Any political candidate who jokes about consolidating, seizing, or holding power against the will of the people should be held accountable. Certain jokes are always going to be in poor taste. But with Trump, this sort of behavior is part of a larger picture.
A Forbes article details critics’ concerns, “Prominent Democrats have expressed serious concerns that Trump may refuse to leave office should he lose the election in November. When asked by Fox News‘ Chris Wallace in July, if he would accept the election results, Trump said, ‘I have to see. Look, you — I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time, either.’
Earlier this summer, Trump suggested delaying the presidential election, in which he trails by double-digits in many polls. ‘With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???’ Trump tweeted in late July.
Earlier this month, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders warned that Congress and the media should begin to prepare for a scenario in which Trump refuses to willingly leave the White House. ‘This is not just idle speculation,’ said Sanders. ‘What we have got to do in the next two months is to alert the American people about what that nightmarish scenario might look like in order to prepare them for that possibility and talk about what we do if that happens.’ Back in May of 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, ‘We have to inoculate against that, we have to be prepared for that,’ when discussing her concern that Trump would not give up power voluntarily if he lost re-election.'”
Supporters of the President Are Focusing on Other Topics
Supporters of the president have been focusing on other topics since the remarks were made. Some are calling it a brilliant troll of Democrats. However, after the sad news was shared that Supreme Court Justice and human rights legend Ruth Bader Ginsberg had died at 87 on Friday, all eyes have been on the vacant SCOTUS seat. This is where the president’s supporters have been focusing their attention, hoping to gloss over the president’s, “unfortunate,” remarks on Saturday. On a Fox and Friends segment, Trump suggested that a nomination could come down the line as soon as this Friday.
Can the President Really Ban Biden?
The short answer is no. The long answer is still being debated but also seems likely to be no. It would require a constitutional amendment. Although Trump has frequently floated the idea of staying president beyond his two terms are up for various reasons, right now there’s no system in place to allow this. While voters are on the edge of their seats awaiting the 2020 Election Day results, the military has already promised to respect the office of the presidency and won’t go down swinging if Trump tries to remain in power after being lawfully outvoted.
There are checks and balances in place in case a clear winner hasn’t been settled by Inauguration Day in 2021, in scenarios that very well could lead to someone like Nancy Pelosi assuming the presidency by default. But even if Trump wins re-election this year, our Constitution spells an end to his presidency four years later. Term limits were introduced in 1951 and are immensely popular. And currently there is no way for the president to ban his opponent in a system designed to allow a free and fair choice between candidates.