- The notion that Trump will be “reinstated” before Labor Day is gaining traction among QAnon followers.
- Trump has reportedly talked about it with confidants, claiming he’ll be reinstated.
- The demonstrably false conspiracy theory can be traced back to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The latest preposterous conspiracy theory sweeping the extended QAnon world claims that the Supreme Court will reinstate former President Donald Trump before Labor Day weekend, despite the fact that he lost a fair election nearly seven months ago and has been unsuccessful in dozens of court challenges since.
While the origin of the August-reinstatement theory remains unclear – it certainly did not come from constitutional-law scholarship – the first mention of it to gain significant traction came from Mike Lindell, the founder and CEO of MyPillow and a staunch Trump ally.
Lindell has been mired in legal trouble over his false claims about voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems. But he has continued to push lies about the 2020 election and appears largely responsible for this latest conspiracy theory’s spread across MAGA-friendly media outlets.
Lindell first predicted that Trump would be reinstated by August on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast in March.
“What I’m talking about, Steve, is what I have been doing since January 9. All of the evidence I have, everything that is going to go before the Supreme Court, and the election of 2020 is going bye-bye,” Lindell said, adding that other countries and “communism coming in” had stolen the election.
Lindell’s prediction relies on an assumption that the Supreme Court would be so impressed by his purported evidence of fraud that it would somehow issue a ruling saying Biden won illegitimately and setting a new inauguration date.
Sidney Powell, a lawyer who’s filed several failed election-related lawsuits and pushed outlandish conspiracy theories about hacked voting machines, shared the baseless reinstatement theory at a conference of QAnon supporters in Dallas over the weekend. (Dominion has filed defamation lawsuits against both Lindell and Powell.)
At the same conference, Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security advisor, went as far as to suggest that the United States should have a military coup, similar to the one in Myanmar, to reinstall Trump.
August appears to be when Lindell thinks he’ll finally have the real evidence that will force the Supreme Court to overturn the election.
Trump isn’t getting reinstated
Simply put, Lindell and Powell are not telling the truth to their followers.
On the logistical front, the court will be on a three-month recess starting in late June. While the justices still review petitions, applications, and motions during their recess, it’s unrealistic to think the Lindell case would amount to an exception.
Based on recent history, Lindell’s chances don’t look good. In December, the high court refused to hear a long-shot, last-ditch lawsuit filed by Ken Paxton, Texas’ attorney general, who asked the court to void Biden’s victories in four swing states and have GOP-controlled state legislatures appoint electors instead.
It’s unclear what process Lindell thinks the Supreme Court would deploy now, nearly seven months after the election. But as far as the Constitution goes, there’s no mechanism for the Supreme Court to overturn a presidential election, in the same way sharks can’t grow legs on command and stroll onto land.
It all goes back to how the Electoral College works. Presidents aren’t elected nationwide but state by state, indirectly. When you vote for president, you’re not directly electing a president but voting for a slate of electors to vote for the presidential ticket you want.
Furthermore, states are free to appoint their slates of electors as they choose – they just have to do so by the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. While all 50 states hold elections to appoint their electors, the Constitution doesn’t require them to do so. And there’s no constitutional right to vote for president.
Once the electors cast their votes in December and Congress counts those votes, as they did on January 7, it’s over.
After a president is sworn in, the only mechanism to remove them is through impeachment.
And even if Lindell were to blow the cover off a massive plot to rig the election, Congress could remove Biden only for high crimes and misdemeanors committed in office – not over vague conspiracy theories about foreign governments and the ghost of Hugo Chavez rigging the 2020 election.
That, too, wouldn’t result in Trump being reinstated as president.
As Trump knows from being impeached twice, the vice president would take over if a president were removed.