No, Donald Trump Definitely Can’t (and Won’t) Refuse to Leave the White House

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Good morning. I have an announcement to make: Trump isn’t going to refuse to leave the White House.

I feel like I have to say this, even though I don’t want to say this. It seems like there needs to be a disclaimer or PSA put out every now and then to remind people that 1) Trump isn’t going to do it and 2) Trump can’t do it.

The people who share this story, who report on it breathlessly like it’s a 100% true drama they are covering are just little sheep addicted to Constitutional panic porn… Naturally, today’s column was inspired by CNN.

Of course it’s CNN. It has to be. The one network that made the biggest shift from news to punditry all to combat Donald Trump’s presidency is naturally going to go down swinging on this. “Sources in the Trump administration are telling us that he is talking about refusing to leave office,” they want so badly to report every day, as if it was real or even possible.

But Trump isn’t going to do that, and CNN knows it. How do I know they know it? It’s written in their own story.

In his moments of deepest denial, Trump has told some advisers that he will refuse to leave the White House on Inauguration Day, only to be walked down from that ledge. The possibility has alarmed some aides, but few believe Trump will actually follow through.

So… why push the story out suggesting he’s planning to do it unless you’re desperately seeking a traffic high from it? It’s dishonest to frame it the way it was pushed out, because it inspires a ton of chatter from activists on both sides, a not-insignificant number of whom could see it as yet another reason to get violent.

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Donald Trump can’t refuse to leave the White House. The 20th amendment is very clear here.

Section I. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Trump
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Even if Trump wanted to remain in the White House, as of noon on January 20, he has no power or authority. No one who could keep him in power would actually answer to him. He is done as of that moment.

The people who push this crazy theory are no less insane than the people who swore Barack Obama was definitely going to use executive orders to remain President even after his second term was over. It’s all paranoid conspiracy theory, and it’s only panic-porn-addicted sheep who really give it any credence. Most people understand it won’t actually happen.

But man, does it make for great clickbait. CNN has probably realized the Trump click train is about to leave the station and, like I said yesterday, they’re either going to have to break themselves of that addiction or find a way to keep him in all the headlines.

It’s stupid to even report on it, much less share the story as if it were a serious position or something he could actually try to do. It’s irresponsible journalism… but that’s nothing new from CNN.

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