President Donald Trump is not joking when he says he should stay in the White House for 12 more years, the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen told CNN on Wednesday.
“Donald Trump believes that he should be the ruler — the dictator of the United States of America. He actually is looking to change the Constitution. When Donald Trump jokes about 12 more years … he is not joking. Donald Trump does not have a sense of humor,” Cohen told host Don Lemon on the “CNN Tonight” program.
“So I want you to understand that when he says 12 more years, if he wins he is going to automatically Day No. 1 start thinking how he can change the Constitution for a third term, and then a fourth term, like what he said to President XI and like what he said to so many other people. It’s why he admires the Kim Jong Uns of the world,” Cohen continued.
In his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination in August, Trump urged delegates to chant “12 more years” to drive critics “crazy.” Trump has previously argued that he deserves more time in office because of the Russia investigation and his belief that former President Barack Obama spied on his campaign in 2016.
The 22nd amendment, ratified in 1951, prevents presidents from staying in office for more than two four-year terms. Previously there were no term limits for presidents, with Franklin D. Roosevelt elected to four terms in office from 1933 to 1945.
Cohen referenced Trump’s friendly relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the interview. Trump has previously praised Kim’s leadership style and said he wants the same level of respect as the North Korean dictator.
“He’s the head of a country, and I mean he’s the strong head. Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same,” Trump told Fox News in June 2018, following a summit with Kim in Singapore.
Cohen is promoting his new book that was published this week, titled “Disloyal: A Memoir.” Cohen was Trump’s attorney from 2006 to 2018, and was sentenced to three years in federal prison in December 2018, due to tax evasion and campaign finance violations.
In May, Cohen was released from prison due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will serve the rest of his term on house arrest. Cohen has accused Trump of lying about his assets to obtain loans or to pay less in real estate taxes.