10:51 | 05/03/2021 Print
The U.S. Capitol was locked up tightly on Thursday morning amid reports of a potential threat linked to QAnon, the conspiracy theory that continues to imagine a dramatic comeback for former U.S. president Donald Trump.
House lawmakers cancelled their sessions for the day and security officials tightened up their perimeter due to a “possible plot” against the site, Capitol Police said.
The threat coincides with chatter among far-right QAnon groups online, where some suggested that Trump was poised to retake the presidency from President Joe Biden, who beat him in the 2020 election. They reportedly circled March 4 because it was the original presidential inauguration day until 1933.
Until January 20, the supporters of the conspiracy believed that January 20 would be the day of reckoning, whenTrump who they believe will unmask the cabal will take charge once again. But after Biden was successfully sworn in, the idea lost steam and instead March 4 was thought to be the new day of reckoning, India Express reported.
QAnon appears to have seized on the March 4 date based on a bit of history and a misinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution, Vox reports. The baseless theory stands on a few different fantastical stories, including something about clones, body doubles and graphic fake-outs — all typical fare for the wide-ranging hoax.
However, some leaders among the group have already tried to distance themselves from the date, dubbing it a “false flag.” They said something similar after the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, which involved many high-profile QAnon figures and other supporters.
Because that was the country’s original Inauguration Day, according to The Washington Post
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.
|On March 4, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln stands under cover at the center of the Capitol steps during his inauguration in Washington. (AP)|
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.
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