Iowa radio host and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) surrogate Steve Deace has been warning his radio audience that President Obama may try to hold on to the presidency after his term ends. Deace claims the president has abused the Constitution so much that Obama staying after his term's completion is “really not that farfetched.”
In March 2015, Deace dismissed the idea that Obama would hold on to power after his presidential term was complete. In a question posed to him, which he responded to on his blog, Deace was asked if there was any validity to the idea of a third Obama term and Deace responded that even Obama wouldn't “dare defy” Hillary Clinton “twice.”
But now it seems Deace's confidence in Obama's ability to restrain himself from subverting the Constitution in order to stay in the White House is waning. During the January 6 episode of his radio show, Deace asked Conservative Review's Daniel Horowitz what he thought the GOP would do if Obama decides not to leave after this term. Deace reiterated that the question was “not meant to be silly” and that he was “serious when he asked” about the possibility.
DEACE: I am going to ask you a question Daniel, and it's not meant to be silly. You know me well enough, I am serious when I ask this and I don't think the hypothetical I am asking about is all that farfetched. We have an administration in the White House that sells guns to jihadists, gives guns to Mexican drug lords, that sics the long coercive arm of the federal government on nuns. I mean really, I don't think what I am about to propose is all that crazy considering what's already on the record. So here it goes.
Suppose Hillary Clinton loses in November and Barack Obama simply says, “I'm not leaving. I am not leaving the White House.” What would the Republicans do?
HOROWITZ: So it would start out like this, we would demand that in the budget bill that Republicans defund the Executive Office of the President. And Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would come out there and say, “We can't shut down the government.” That's what would happen. For now here is the deal, Obama can't announce that now, because there is one thing stopping him, Hillary Clinton.
HOROWITZ: The Democrats won't stand for that, but were she to lose? There is no limit.
DEACE: Just for a second play this out for a minute. You and I are old enough to remember when Democrats said they didn't care that a president committed perjury to a federal grand jury. They don't care that a president literally just makes up immigration law, that a president just takes the first amendment through an absolute paper shredder. They don't care that he releases billions of dollars to help fuel the Iranian regime and to help them perpetuate a nuclear arsenal. They don't care. You got Joy Behar on TV yesterday saying she would vote for a rapist as long as they were a liberal. This is the other side's mindset. So we know they aren't going to give a rip if Obama just says, “You know man, it's like that whole two term limit thing doesn't exist in the Constitution. I'm staying.”
Deace doubled down the next day on his radio show, this time asking his audience to consider the ramifications of Obama refusing to leave after this term:
DEACE: Suppose Hillary Clinton loses in November and Barack Obama decides in response to that, “You know what, there is really not much of the Constitution left that I could just not wantonly disregard. So I am just going to take the last final step here and make it official, I am not leaving either. I am not vacating the office.” I think I could make the case that is really not that farfetched given all the other stuff we have seen.
While Deace's hypothetical is ridiculous, it is troubling coming from such an influential conservative voice. Deace, who was called one of the "most powerful Republicans you've never heard of" by Bloomberg, is promoting the idea that Obama will take at least one more term by force, in violation of the 22nd amendment.
Deace's self-described fear of political tyranny mirrors the messaging of Sen. Ted Cruz, whom the host endorsed in August and whose Leadership Team Deace is on. Since then he has been working overtime to ensure Cruz's message is heard in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Deace has appeared in a lengthy campaign ad in support of Cruz, helped the candidate prep for debates, and was introduced as "part of the campaign" while opening a Cruz office in Iowa.
Deace has a history of playing up conspiracy theories such as his promotion of birtherisim and his use of an anti-Semitic propaganda video he claimed showed Syrian refugees were trying to exploit and overtake European culture.