Trump: ‘Under the Normal Rules, I’ll Be Out in 2024. So We May Have to Go For an Extra Term, OK?’

By Patrick Goodenough | September 10, 2019 | 4:23am EDT
President Trump and FIFA president Gianni Infantino on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

( – Having some fun at the media’s expense, President Trump said Monday night he may have to run for a third term, so he'll still be in the White House when the United States hosts the soccer World Cup in 2026.

Addressing supporters at a rally in North Carolina, Trump spoke of his meeting at the White House earlier in the day with Gianni Infantino, president of the world soccer governing body FIFA.

The U.S. is set to host the 2026 men’s championship, the largest event in global sports, in conjunction with Canada and Mexico.

“We’ve got a problem – it’s in 2026,” Trump said. “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, OK?”

As the crowd cheered, the president stood back with a wry smile, shook his head, gestured towards media representatives, and made a “cuckoo” sign.

“Oh they’re going crazy, they’re going crazy,” he riffed. “Tomorrow you’re going to see headlines: Trump wants an extra term! I told you, I told you. He wants it.”

“He wants an extra term, ladies and gentlemen. We told you! We told you he’s a dictator, we told you!”

“Nah, nah,” he continued. “I’m only kidding. I’m only kidding.”

Assuming Trump wins a second term next year, that will be his last. The 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1951, set a two-term limit for the presidency.

Trump then spoke about hosting the soccer tournament.

“It’s the biggest sporting event in the world and we’ve got it, and it’s great. We’re working it also with Mexico, Canada, giving them some of the games. We’re going to have a great relationship with the World Cup. It’s a big deal.”

At the White House, Infantino told reporters that it would be not just the world’s biggest sports event but also the biggest social event. More than four billion people around the world would watch games, he predicted.

The U.S. will host 60 games in ten cities including all the knockout stage games, while Canada and Mexico will host ten games each. It will be the first time in the competition’s almost century-long history that three countries co-host the event, which will see a newly-expanded roster of 48 national teams fight for the trophy.

An annual FIFA Congress in June 2018 handed the hosting rights to the North American trio, which saw off a rival bid by Morocco.

The United States has qualified for ten of the 21 World Cups held to date since 1930, reaching the quarter-final stage in 2002. The U.S. hosted the competition in 1994.

The U.S. has won the separate FIFA Women’s World Cup four out of the eight times the competition has been held, and is the current title holder after winning the 2019 event in France over the summer.

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