Instead — two weeks after a mob attacked the Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election — Trump flew off to Mar-a-Lago and Joe Biden took the oath of office, becoming the 46th president of the United States.
But many QAnon crackpots hadn’t given up. Some believed Trump would return to power on Thursday, March 4, and according to U.S. Capitol Police, a militant group might have been plotting to breach the Capitol again that day.
This led to many jokes on Twitter about a Mar-a-Lago inauguration on March 4.
Why March 4? Because that was the country’s original Inauguration Day, of course.
The Constitution doesn’t actually set a date for the beginning of a president’s term, only saying it will last four years exactly. But after George Washington’s was scheduled for March 4, 1789, the date stuck.
Back in the tricorn-hat days, having such a long “lame duck” period after an election wasn’t that big of a deal. When news and people travel at the speed of a horse, so follows government business.
But by 1860, it proved to be a real problem. Between Abraham Lincoln’s election in early November 1860 and his inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven states seceded from the Union — without the president-elect being able coordinate a response, giving Confederate states a huge tactical advantage (that they soon squandered).
During the Great Depression, the long interregnum proved so unwieldy that it was finally shortened. Franklin D. Roosevelt had been overwhelmingly elected in November 1932, based in large part on his plans for bold intervention on the economy. Then the suffering nation just had to sit around and wait four months for him to finally take office.
In that time, disaster nearly struck. On Feb. 15, 1933, three weeks before he was set to take office, Roosevelt was nearly killed by an assassin’s bullet while speaking in Miami. The shooter missed the president-elect but shot five others, including the mayor of Chicago, who later died of his injuries.
The 20th Amendment forever moved up Inauguration Day to Jan. 20. Roosevelt’s first term was thus shortened by two months, though that ended up not mattering since he was reelected.
According to QAnon lore, all presidents since Ulysses S. Grant have been illegitimate, so it follows that the day Trump returns to power to set things right would be the original Inauguration Day.
There are a couple of problems with this theory.
First, it’s unclear if the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, is still valid in the Q universe, since that also came after Grant.
Second, March 4 didn’t actually end up being the first Inauguration Day anyhow. That’s when it was scheduled for in 1789, but bad weather — an actual storm! — kept so many members of Congress from getting to the temporary capital of New York City that they failed to have the quorum needed for Washington to take the oath. The first inauguration didn’t take place until April 30, 1789.
Also, this is not the first day QAnon followers have predicted Trump will reveal himself as an American savior. Other dates include but are not limited to: Dec. 8, 2020; Dec. 14, 2020; Jan. 6, 2021 (attempt by followers to make this prophecy come true notwithstanding); Jan. 20, 2021.
So once Thursday passes without a Trump resurrection, what will the new, actual, real, final day be?
Who knows, but Easter — April 4 this year — is TAKEN.
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