Security around the U.S. Capitol has been tightened in light of credible threats that a militant group may be plotting to breach the Capitol. The U.S. House of Representatives has canceled Wednesday’s session to keep lawmakers and staff safe in case there is another assault on their workplace. But why today? What’s so special about March 4?
Because, of course, that was the United States’ original Inauguration Day and the die-hard QAnon believers and others of Sen. Ron “RonAnon” Johnson’s “agents provocateurs” believe Donald Trump miraculously will return to the nation’s capital today from his Mar-a-Lago estate to once again be sworn in again as president. No, really. They do.
There is no date specified in the Constitution for when Inauguration Day is to take place. George Washington was supposed to be sworn in on March 4, 1789, but a wicked storm prevented lawmakers from getting to the capital. He ultimately took the oath of office on April 30 of that year.
Such a long transition between election and inauguration – November to March – was fine in the early days of the republic when news often traveled most speedily by horse.
The tradition carried on until 1932, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected during the Great Depression. The country had to wait around four months for him to take office. Just imagine if we had to wait four months for President Joe Biden to assume the presidency and begin rolling out the coronavirus vaccine. The impetus for moving up Inauguration Day came on Feb. 15, 1933, in Miami when a would-be assassin’s bullet almost felled Roosevelt. Five others were shot that day, including the mayor of Chicago, who died of his injuries.
The 20th amendment to the Constitution officially and permanently moved Inauguration Day up to Jan. 20, but the QAnon adherents don’t accept that. They believe that every president since Ulysses S. Grant has been illegitimate. That theory makes no sense because if you take it to its “logical” conclusion even Donald Trump’s presidency wasn’t real.
So the QAnon-ers, who want to believe that Trump actually won the 2020 election, take the position that the twice-impeached former guy will triumphantly return to Washington on March 4 to be sworn in as the United States’ 19th legitimate president. Law enforcement authorities, intent on not repeating the mistakes that allowed insurrectionist rioters to overwhelm police on Jan. 6, are on heightened alert today in case QAnon believers and right-wing groups attempt another violent assault to attend the former guy’s inauguration.