The 22nd Amendment of the Constitution establishes that an elected president can only serve two terms in office for a total of eight years.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, former President Donald Trump is expected to announce he is running for president in 2024 from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
President Joe Biden, who defeated Trump in 2020, hasn’t yet announced a final decision on whether he will run for reelection.
Ahead of Trump’s announcement, several VERIFY readers have asked if the former president could serve two more terms if he is reelected in 2024.
Could former President Trump serve two more terms if he is reelected?
No, former President Trump couldn’t serve two more terms if he is reelected.
WHAT WE FOUND
Presidential term limits are established by the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified on Feb. 27, 1951. The Republican-controlled Congress championed the amendment after former President Franklin Roosevelt won four consecutive terms, according to The National Constitution Center.
The 22nd Amendment reads in part:
“No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once.”
That means an elected president can only serve two terms in office for a total of eight years. Since Trump has already served one term as president, he’d only be eligible to serve for one more, even though the terms wouldn’t be consecutive.
Some members of Congress have tried to repeal the 22nd Amendment since it was ratified more than 70 years ago, but the resolutions have never made it out of committee, the National Constitution Center says.
There is a loophole in the 22nd Amendment that allows someone to serve up to ten years as president, the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center explains. But it doesn’t apply to Trump.
If a vice president or other successor takes over for a president who can’t finish out their term, and that person serves two years or less of the former president’s term, they would be eligible to serve two full four-year terms afterward.
But if the successor serves more than two years of the former president’s term, they can only serve for one more term afterward, the center says.
If Trump were to win reelection in 2024, he’d be the first president in more than a century to serve two nonconsecutive terms.
Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th U.S. President, is the only president who left the White House and returned four years later for a second term.