A story circulated on social media on March 4, 2021 claiming Donald Trump was quietly sworn into office as president of the United States under sovereign law.
The America’s Last Line of Defense posted a story about former U.S. President Donald Trump to their Facebook page. The post was titled: “The Deep State has been replaced, Patriots, and Trump is once again in charge.”
There was an alternate article title used when you actually clicked the article, reading: “Finally: Trump Quietly Sworn In As POTUS Under Sovereign Law.”
This claim appears to be based on a running QAnon conspiracy theory that claimed Trump would take office in the White House again on March 4, 2021.
“Good news, Patriots. Under the sovereign laws of the United States of America in the district of Columbia, Donald Trump was sworn in today as the 31st President of the true United States.”
“The law is clear, and the law was maniulated [sic], therefore, the law is null and void, and Donald Trump is the real and legitimate President.”
“Deal with it, Biden lovers and commie socialists. With trump at the helm of the new Shadow Government, the Deep State will have no choice but to retreat and Trump will once again call the shots.”
“Of course, none of this is legal, nor will iot matter in the real world, where Joe Biden is President and life goes on as usual.”
However, Donald Trump was not “quietly sworn in” using sovereign law. In fact, the story in question was published on a website that has the following disclaimer:
“Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.”
The claim that Trump was quietly sworn into office on March 4, 2021 was satire and never meant to be believed as real, but that didn’t stop many from believing it.
In fact, Capitol Police beefed up security around the Capitol building as a precaution. QAnon conspiracy believers were expected in Washington D.C. in the days surrounding March 4th because they believe the conspiracy theory that Trump would be inaugurated and move back into the White House.
Timothy Blodgett, the acting sergeant at arms for the House of Representatives, spoke to members of Congress about the precautionary increased security measures.
A spokesperson for the Capitol Police stated that it is not clear how many QAnon supporters believe in the conspiracy theory and will make the trip to D.C.
Blodgett noted, “the significance of this date has reportedly declined amongst various groups in recent days, and that there was no indication that groups would be traveling to the capital.”
After President Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the March 4 conspiracy theory gained traction. However, after Trump exited the White House and mass arrests of Democrats predicted by QAnon didn’t happen, some followers simply gave up on the unfounded theories. However, some of QAnon’s faithful began pushing the March 4 conspiracy theory.
But others began pushing a new narrative: That Trump would rise again on the nation’s original inauguration date, which was changed by the 20th Amendment.
The March 4 conspiracy theory says that no American president has been officially inaugurated since Ulysses S. Grant in 1869. The conspiracy theorists claim a law was passed in 1871 that secretly turned the United States into a corporation, making all presidents after Grant illegitimate.
The theory has got its roots in the “sovereign citizen” movement, a separate group of conspiracy theorists that claim that the federal government is illegitimate, and that sovereign citizens shouldn’t have to pay taxes. It also believes that sheriffs are the highest legal power in every county.
“QAnon is generally a pretty big tent conspiracy theory, where they’re not eager to shoot down the theories of their fellow believers,” View said. “But occasionally there are things that cross the line.”
March 4 is a dividing line, View stated. He added that “QAnon promoters don’t want the embarrassment of another failed prediction.”
The QAnon movement began not long after Trump took office and claimed that a cabal of powerful, Satan-worshipping Democrats, celebrities, and bankers run a pedophile ring and kill and eat children to obtain a life-giving chemical called adrenochrome. The theory also suggests that Trump was chosen by military generals to run for president to confront the cabal. Trump was predicted to throw members of the cabal into prison in a cleanup known as “The Storm.”
Many believe that the creator of the QAnon conspiracy, known simply as “Q” is actually Donald Trump.
Marilyn Mayo, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism in New York, warns that it would be a mistake to assume that the QAnon community has given up.
Mayo says that there was a “flare-up of hope” on online message boards and social media accounts linked to QAnon and Trump.
“There’s renewed hope,” Mayo said. “A lot of people believe, without talking about a specific date, that Trump will be president, and that the military will somehow be involved.”