In September 2020, reports online claimed that U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened or suggested signing an executive order to prevent former Vice President and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden from ever becoming president.
Trump's executive order
On September 19, 2020, the Inquisitr published an article with the headline saying that President Trump suggested signing an executive order that will disqualify Joe Biden from running for president.
On September 20, Forbes published an article with the headline "Trump Threatens to Issue Executive Order Preventing Biden From Being Elected President."
The article reported that at his campaign rally, President Trump ramped up attacks against his opponent, Joe Biden, calling Biden the "dumbest of all candidates," and went so far as to declare that he will sign an executive order that Biden can't be president if he wins.
The article contained a short video clip from Trump's speech that was posted to Twitter by @Acyn. Several netizens suggested that President Trump was gauging the reaction of the public to would-be acts of authoritarianism on his part.
The video that was posted was authentic and was not doctored, and both Forbes and the Inquisitr quoted President Trump accurately.
However, it is not clear whether he was joking or if he is serious about signing an executive order to stay in the White House even if he loses.
The remarks in question came during his speech in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on September 19. Throughout, President Trump continued his campaign's line of attack against Joe Biden as being "weak." He also questioned his mental acuity.
President Trump described his opponent as "the dumbest of all candidates" and "the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics," claiming that Biden was shot and had half of his head left and he suggested that Biden's campaign would inject him with drugs in order to give him energy during the first presidential debate on September 29.
Toward the end of Trump's speech, he characterized Biden as weak, pointing to the criticism he had faced from U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, during the Democratic primaries, whom he later named as his vice-presidential running mate.
President Trump speculated that Joe Biden if elected president, would be overrun by sinister left-wing elements within the Democratic party and would give way for a Harris presidency.
President Trump's demeanor at that moment in his speech suggests that he was joking about signing an executive order barring Biden from becoming president.
This is not the first time that President Trump had said something that confused the public. In July 2016, Trump asked the Russian government to hack the email server of his then opponent, former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, but he later brushed it off as just sarcasm.
In June 2020, during his election campaign, he said that he asked his officials to slow down COVID-19 testing in order to lower the rate of infection in the United States. That remark earned him a massive backlash.
The administration officials later claimed that he was just joking, but the president insisted and said "I don't kid."