President Donald Trump retweeted a post from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. on Sunday night, embracing the unconstitutional idea that his four-year term should be extended by two years.
Falwell suggested that the extension would make up for the two years “stolen” from his presidency by the “corrupt failed coup” that was special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
“After the best week ever for @realDonaldTrump – no obstruction, no collusion, NYT admits @BarackObama did spy on his campaign, & the economy is soaring,” Falwell wrote, referencing a report from The New York Times that outlined how FBI informants had spoken with Trump campaign officials in 2016 to investigate their ties to Russia.
Trump has previously claimed, without proof, that the Obama administration “spied” on his campaign by wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower, and suggested Mueller’s two-year long probe was an attempt to overthrow the White House.
“I now support reparations,” Falwell continued. “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”
After the best week ever for @realDonaldTrump – no obstruction, no collusion, NYT admits @BarackObama did spy on his campaign, & the economy is soaring. I now support reparations-Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup
— Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) May 5, 2019
Presidents who are investigated for possible misconduct do not get bonus years back for the time spent looking into those allegations. President Bill Clinton was investigated for six of his eight years by an independent counsel appointed to examine a failed Arkansas land deal, but his term still ended in 2001 despite the lack of evidence against him to back the Whitewater allegations, for instance.
Even if Trump’s first two years were in fact stolen, and Trump was obstructed from being president, it would follow logically that his actions in 2017 and 2018 would be null and void because those years didn’t actually count.
Under this alternate reality, things would look a lot different.
Trump has appointed Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, giving him a five-to-four conservative majority on most politicized cases. Without their appointments, a four-to-three liberal majority would have arrived at very different decisions in cases involving labor unions, freedom of religion, voting rights, and numerous other issues. And lower courts would also look quite different; last week the Senate confirmed Trump’s 100th judge to a lifetime appointment.
The tax bill
Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment in his first term was the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a massive tax cut that mostly benefited corporations and the very wealthy while actually raising taxes on an estimated 10 million Americans. The legislation has helped spur the largest budget deficits and national debt in American history.
Though it passed without a single Democratic vote in either congressional chamber, the Republican leadership rammed the law through under the budget reconciliation process and it was signed by Trump in December 2017. Without it, the deficit would likely be smaller and millions of Americans would likely be paying less in taxes.
While Trump’s repeated attempts to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) and replace it with a Trumpcare system failed, Trump has significantly undermined the law through executive orders and a provision in the tax bill that repealed the individual mandate. While the system continues to allow millions of Americans to get affordable health insurance, Trump’s repeated efforts to sabotage the law have lead to lower enrollment numbers.
Trump’s handpicked Federal Communications Commission chair, Ajit Pai, spearheaded a successful effort to eliminate net neutrality in December 2017. On a three-to-two party-line vote, the Commission terminated a rule requiring that internet providers treat all data requests equally and prohibiting them from throttling traffic to less-favored sites — an idea favored by 83 percent of Americans. Absent Trump’s first two years, neither Pai nor the net neutrality repeal, which went into effect in June 2018, would have happened.
After years of decrying President Barack Obama’s executive orders, Trump issued a wide array of controversial and legally questionable orders in the first two years of his presidency. These included a ban on travel to the United States from several majority-Muslim countries, restrictions of abortion rights, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and other fossil fuel sector priorities, elimination of environmental protections and climate change prevention efforts, attacks on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers (including a policy that separated immigrant kids from their families), a ban on transgender service-members and other rollbacks of LGBTQ rights, implementation of tariffs, and the cancellation of a denuclearization deal with Iran.
While many of these are currently being challenged in the courts, the clock would be restarted if Trump were forced to reverse the first two years of his presidency.