Here’s an intellectual exercise Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters probably haven’t thought of.
If, as QAnon adherents believe, there hasn’t been a legitimate President of the United States since Ulysses S. Grant, wouldn’t that make Trump’s own tenure from 2017 to 2021 illegitimate as well?
But again, they probably haven’t thought that through.
What they’re absolutely convinced of, though, is that Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated this week–Thursday, March 4–as the 19th President of the United States.
Yes, the 19th president.
QAnon and the domestic terrorist group “sovereign citizen” have promoted the belief the United States ceased to exist when it clandestinely became a corporation under the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871, rendering illegitimate every president and constitutional amendment passed the ensuing years.
That means the 20th amendment, which changed the inauguration from March to January 20, in 1933, is illegitimate as well, they claim.
In addition to 1933 being the year President Franklin Roosevelt was first inaugurated, it is also the year Roosevelt ended the gold standard, which QAnoners and “sovereign citizens” feel was the point at which the U.S. adopted “corporation” status.
Some QAnon followers are borrowing discredited arguments from sovereign citizens in order to yet again move the goalposts. They're absurdly claiming Trump will be inaugurated on March 4, because the U.S. was "incorporated" in 1871 and all Amendments passed after that are invalid. pic.twitter.com/W0c8QqiOqu
— Travis View (@travis_view) January 24, 2021
As irrational as all this is, after the January 6th insurrection, law enforcement is paying attention, and National Guard soldiers are remaining in Washington, D.C. longer.
Robert Salesses, Homeland Defense and Global Security Assistant Secretary of Defense, said that Capitol police requested the 4,900 troops through March 12, explaining:
“The number was based on different missions that they would, the National Guard members would be supporting, response force, perimeter, security, those kinds of mission sets. We’re working with them. As you know, the current request ends on March 12. We’re trying to determine with them is what is the right level of security that they need from the National Guard considering that the circumstances have changed.
“We work very closely with the FBI, Secret Service, and others and the Capitol Police to try to determine what they believe that threat is, and then looking at what they believe is the need for the National Guard, or the types of mission sets that they need support from, we work very closely with them to try to determine what that is. Obviously 4900 is a very large number here on the Capitol.”
A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN:
“[The] most significant terrorism-related threat currently facing the nation comes from lone offenders and small groups of individuals inspired by domestic extremist ideological beliefs, including those based on false narratives spread over social media and other online platforms.”
As Right Wing Watch reports:
“The DHS’s focus on ‘lone offenders’ and ‘small groups’ echoes a trend of QAnon adherents threatening to take matters into their own hands if Trump does not return to the White House in March.”
House Armed Services Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) added:
“If you want to help [QAnon adherents]… tell them that the election is over. Joe Biden won. It was a free and fair election, and let’s get to work, that too would help reduce the well I don’t know fear, paranoia that people feel that requires everything that we’re seeing around here.”
That strategy may not work, however.
University of Cambridge researchers suggest people who accept extremist views tend to perform poorly on complex mental tasks.
Hence the “March 4” (march forth?) scenario.
Image credit: Progressive-charlestown.com