Qanon adherents produce a seemingly-endless stream of conspiracy theories that all involve Donald Trump being a really brilliant strategist who planned for a return to office after losing the 2020 election. In this case, though, perhaps the man advancing the idea didn’t fully think out what he’s suggesting.
That man is Dave Hayes, also known as Praying Medic. He says that he thinks Trump orchestrated the Afghanistan withdrawal to go badly, ensuring that President Biden would ‘botch’ it, thus resulting in Biden’s impeachment, and Trump’s reinstatement to the Presidency and White House.
QAnon conspiracy theorist Dave Hayes claims Trump "set up the withdrawal from Afghanistan" with the intention that Biden would "botch it" and be removed via the 25th Amendment, at which point the military will step in and restore Trump to the White House. pic.twitter.com/s41Tu4IJK4
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) August 27, 2021
He says that the military could “end the charade” and “step in” after Biden’s (hypothetical) removal, “after Biden is removed but before Kamala is inaugurated,” then it wouldn’t be a coup because “there is no commander-in-chief.” This, he says, is “when the reveal is going to happen,” and the military, possibly declaring martial law, will return Trump to power.
Of course, this isn’t how anything works.
Similar conspiracy theories, and genuine safety concerns, floated around Biden’s inauguration — but as UMKC explains here, it’s the reason why swearing-in of a new President is done as closely as possible to the exact moment that the prior President’s term ends.
Under the Constitution, the old president continues to hold full power through 11:59:59, and then power shifts at noon. Article II, Section 1 requires that the new president, before executing any duties, take a prescribed oath or affirmation. To avoid a constitutional power vacuum, the Inauguration Day program is certain to schedule the swearing in for as close as possible to noon.
Of course, in this particular theory, Hayes isn’t talking about a normal change of power — but this “power vacuum” he’s proposing to take advantage of isn’t exactly something that the U.S. Government hasn’t considered, or an opportunity to take the (hypothetical) new administration by surprise.
Moreover, Biden and his administration are currently being blasted for the withdrawal process, and in fact, Hayes believes Biden should be removed for it. (He’s not alone — Marjorie Taylor Greene and her cohort have already drawn up unadvanceable Articles of Impeachment.) Yet, in the same breath, Hayes suggests that Trump planned for the withdrawal to go badly — and it should be clear that in this case “badly” includes loss of lives. Balancing a belief that Trump planned this with a belief that he should be reinstated, while Biden is removed for it, requires a lot of cognitive dissonance.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com