Amid actual fears that President Donald Trump would not cede the White House even if impeached, voted out in 2020, or following a second term—the president on Saturday was actively trolling the people of the United States with a tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter page suggesting that he would stay in power until the year... well, forever.
This is what it looks like:
Trump tweeted this Time magazine cover that depicts him staying in office ‘4eva’ pic.twitter.com/uqLs5pctLW
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 22, 2019
As of this writing, the tweet—though it contained no written message—had over 60,000 retweets, more than 220,000 likes, and remained pinned to the top of the president's page:
Reaction, especially amid serious speculation that Trump will not leave office "willingly" when his time comes, was not received lightly by some:
I'm not one to get riled up over Trump tweets, but this one is pretty damn scary. This man doesn't believe in a democratic form of government, and now he's putting feelers out there.
He has to be defeated. https://t.co/nPyXQqxdOY
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) June 21, 2019
"This is quite the troll," said Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake.
In general, the online response was a mix of people acknowledging this was Trump overtly trolling his critics—he's "so good at this"—with others saying things like, "The creepiest shit I've ever seen."
While even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has raised the concern publicly that Trump may try to cling to power—telling the New York Times last month that "we have to be prepared for that"—journalist Mehdi Hassan of The Intercept is among the political observers who says it is an otherwise outlandish scenario that the current president has made seem entirely plausible. Writing earlier this year on the question, Hasan noted: "This is a man, after all, who point-blank refused to accept that he lost the popular vote when he won the presidency in 2016—so why should we assume that he would accept the result of an election that he loses?"
"There is no reason to believe Trump will go quietly if he is defeated," Hasan concluded at the time. "There is every reason, however, to believe he and his allies will incite hysteria and even violence. Those who assume otherwise haven’t been paying attention."
Thanks to Trump himself, however, many more people might be paying attention now.