Fact Check

Did Trump Tell Iowa Crowd He'll Be President for '4 Years and Beyond'?

In the lead up to Iowa's caucuses, social media posts claimed Trump told a crowd he wants to be president for "four years and beyond."

Published Jan 15, 2024

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at Simpson College on Jan. 14, 2024 in Indianola, Iowa. Tomorrow Iowa Republicans will be the first to select their party's nomination for the 2024 presidential race when they go to caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Image Via Scott Olson/Getty Images
Claim:
Former U.S. President Donald Trump told a crowd in Indianola, Iowa, on Jan. 14, 2024, he'll be president for "four years and beyond," meaning more than the two terms allowed by the U.S. Constitution.
Context

A 14-second video clip circulated on X (formerly Twitter) in which Trump is heard uttering the words "four years and beyond." While the short clip was a genuine recording from a Trump speech in Indianola, Iowa, on Jan. 14, 2024, it was taken out of context. He was not taking about his presidential hopes. He was talking about Iowa's status as the first U.S. state to hold caucuses in presidential elections. He said he and his supporters will push to keep it that way for "four years and beyond."

On Jan. 14, 2024, a 14-second video clip circulated on X (formerly Twitter) with the claim it showed former U.S. President Donald Trump saying he will be president for "four years and beyond," meaning more than the two, four-year terms specified by the U.S. Constitution.

While the short clip was a genuine recording from a Trump speech in Indianola, Iowa, earlier that day, it was taken out of context. He was not talking about his presidential hopes in the in-question moment. We transcribed his full remarks below.

The 14-Second Video Clip

One post read, "Trump lets [sic] his authoritarian hopes slip out this afternoon. He says he’ll be president for 'four years and beyond...."

Another account posted, "After saying for weeks that he’s going to be a dictator for 'one day,' now Trump says he wants to be president for 'four years and beyond.' Are you paying attention?"

The @BidenHQ account – one that CNN once dubbed as U.S. President Joe Biden's "rapid response account" for his campaign's reelection – also made the claim by sharing a slightly longer video clip (19 seconds).

As the claim swept social media on Jan. 14, we reached out to the Trump campaign for its comment on it. We did not receive a response by the following morning. We will update this post when, or if, we hear from the campaign.

Trump's Remarks in Context, Transcribed

Short video clips that have been edited from politicians' speeches can strip messages of necessary context.

Snopes reviewed a video of Trump's entire speech in Indianola on Jan. 14, available via the Right Side Broadcasting Network's YouTube channel. That footage showed he made the in-question comment in his opening remarks, while talking about the state's caucuses the following day.

Trump was talking about Iowa's status as the first U.S. state to hold caucuses in presidential elections, a process that began in the 1970s. He said he and his supporters will push to keep it that way for "four years and beyond," an apparent reference to criticism from 2020 when the Democratic Party's Iowa caucuses suffered technical issues involving a smartphone app. "The call for the Iowa caucuses to lose their first-in-the-nation status grew louder in the aftermath," Business Insider reported.

In other words, contrary to what was claimed in social media posts, Trump did not tell the crowd he wants to seek more than two presidential terms, violating the U.S. Constitution.

We transcribed Trump's opening remarks below, using the Right Side Broadcasting Network's YouTube video. The bolded phrases were featured in the 14-second video clip, stripped of context:

(crowd chanting "USA, USA, USA" upon Trump's arrival to podium)

Wow. You have to see... you have to see what's outside. We have a lot of people here. If this is any indication, the storm has had zero effect. Zero. This is tremendous. Well, as they say, you're hearty people. I've heard that. You're hearty people. We like hearty people. And hello, Iowa.

One day from now, we're going to win Iowa's first in the nation caucuses. We kept you first in the nation. In your victory, a victory that will echo throughout the country and all around the world, tomorrow, Jan. 15, I need each and every one of you to get out, every, everybody get out, just get out and vote. You gotta bring your friends, you know we say plus ten, so plus 10 or plus two or plus 20. But bring them all out because we have to set the stage for November. We have the most corrupt, most incompetent president in the history of our country. He's destroying our country. And we have to get it done quickly. We have to get it done quickly. We have to set the stage and it really begins tomorrow at 7:00. The caucuses start sharp, but if you can be there at 6:30, they tell me it's better, because you have to be there by 7:00. So get there a little bit early. But it's cold, but it was cold out today, too. And we have lots of people outside that can't get in. Shouldn't we let them in? Would anybody like to give up their place and let them in? I know [Rep.] Jim Jordan I think would do it because he's such a nice man. Hi Jim. So dress warmly tomorrow night. And by the way, it's all inside. Everything's inside. But you have to get from the car or whatever you happen to be driving into the set. But it's all indoors so you're not going to have to worry about that. The caucus will be filled with a lot of great people. I say if you're single you'll probably meet your future husband or wife. You'll definitely make some friends and you'll say hello to a lot of people you haven't seen in a while. No, it's really a great scene.

When the concept of caucus works, it's great. When it doesn't work, as the Democrats showed you last time, not too good, right? It's not too good. It's a mess. But by the way, they deserted Iowa. They deserted you. They decided to go a different way, which is crazy. I was honored. Jim Jordan called me. It was very important that we stay. He's from a different place and he felt just the history of Iowa, right? The history of Iowa. It was very important that it stay here, but nobody had to call me because I made the commitment and we kept you first in the nation. As long as I have anything to say about it — and that we have a good chance of saying for four years, [we'll] have a lot to say about it, four years and beyond — you're going to be first in the nation. So brave the weather and go out and save America, because that's what you're doing. This is really about saving our country. Remember, your caucus location is often different from where you normally vote.

The transcribed comments begin at the 2:41-minute mark in this video:

Additional Notes

Some posts that promoted the 14-second video clip mentioned Trump previously said he would be a dictator for "one day" if he won the 2024 presidential election. USA Today reported on this genuine remark, as well as Trump supporters' reaction to it.

While the in-question video was not evidence of Trump hoping for more than two presidential terms, he has teased such an idea in the past. In 2019, Trump shared a video on X highlighting a Time magazine cover and the headline, "How Trumpism Outlasts Trump" (or "How Trumpism Will Outlast Trump"). The magazine cover showed yard signs for "Trump 2024", "Trump 2028", "Trump 2032", "Trump 2036", "Trump 2040" and "Trump 2048". The video animated the magazine cover, extending the yard signs to last tens of thousands of years into the future.

We previously reported on another alleged quote by Trump that was stripped of important context. In that case, social media posts claimed he said, "We've been waging an all-out war on American democracy," allegedly in reference to his campaign. But, when we looked at his full remarks, he learned he was referring to his political opponents.

Sources

Emery, David. “No, Trump Did Not Say ‘We’ve Been Waging an All-Out War on American Democracy.’” Snopes, 3 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-waging-all-out-war-american-democracy/.

“FULL SPEECH: Trump Delivers Remarks at Caucus Rally in Indianola, Iowa - 1/14/24.” YouTube, Right Side Broadcasting Network, 14 Jan. 2024, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOxU33lMmO0.

Pitofsky, Marina. “Donald Trump Repeats Comment He Would Be a Dictator ‘for One Day’ If Reelected in 2024.” USA TODAY, 11 Dec. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2023/12/11/donald-trump-dictator-one-day-reelected/71880010007/.

Relman, Eliza. “Trump Tweeted an Edited Time Magazine Video Showing Him as President ‘4eva.’” Business Insider, 21 June 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-tweeted-edited-time-video-showing-him-president-4eva-2019-6.

Tanenhaus, Sam. “How Trumpism Will Outlast Trump.” TIME.Com, 11 Oct. 2018, https://time.com/magazine/us/5421567/october-22nd-2018-vol-192-no-16-u-s/.

Tausche, Kayla, et al. “White House Strikes Business-as-Usual Tone after McCarthy’s Ouster as Biden Campaign Highlights GOP Disarray | CNN Politics.” CNN, 4 Oct. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/04/politics/white-house-house-gop-drama/index.html.

“Twenty-Second Amendment.” Constitution of the United States, https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/amendment-22/.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.