"A new inauguration date is set": Inside the latest QAnon conspiracy theory to "reinstate" Trump

Key Trump allies like Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn are back and cooking up new plans to get Trump back in office

By Jon Skolnik
Published June 1, 2021 3:44PM (EDT)
Sidney Powell, Donald Trump and Mike Flynn (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Sidney Powell, Donald Trump and Mike Flynn (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Hundreds of people gathered in Texas for a QAnon-sponsored conference over Memorial Day weekend to hear the biggest boosters of Donald Trump's Big Lie downplay the Capitol riot and bandy about new threats of a coming coup.  

Key Trump allies, including Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, Allen West; and perhaps most notably Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tex., attended the three-day event, dubbed "For God & Country Patriot Roundup," at the Omni Hotel in Dallas. 

The QAnon conference came amid reports that Trump is attempting to orchestrate another election coup from his far-off kingdom at Mar-a-Lago. According to a Tuesday tweet from the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, the former President has been telling a number of people he's in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August." Trump's reported thinking echoes that of his former lawyer's, Sidney Powell.  On Saturday, Powell told attendees to the QAnon conference that Trump "can simply be reinstated."

"A new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in," she explained. "I'm sure there's not going to be credit for time lost, unfortunately, because the Constitution itself sets the date for inauguration, but he should definitely get the remainder of his term and make the best of it."

Powell was not the only speaker at this past weekend's event who spoke directly about the possibility Trump could reclaim his throne soon. 

Michael Flynn, apparently looking to encourage another election coup, asking the crowd why "what happened in Myanmar" can't happen in the U.S?

"No reason," Flynn answered. "I mean, it should happen here."

Flynn's comments drew widespread scorn but during his speech on Saturday, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert promulgated a number of baseless conspiracies about the Capitol riot, claiming that "there's no evidence" that the event constituted "an armed insurrection."

Although "armed" in legal terms extends beyond that of just firearms, police nevertheless found a number of guns on rioters in the aftermath of the insurrection. Furthermore, CNN reported that the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia, were planning on trafficking a number of guns across the Potomac River to Washington, D.C. in an effort to support the insurgency.

During his speech, Gohmert also criticized his Democratic colleagues' push to assemble a commission to investigate the riot – an effort that was effectively killed with a filibuster last week by Senate Republicans. Back in January, Gohmert baselessly accused Black Lives Matter and antifa of infiltrating the Capitol riot. Over the weekend, the representative appeared to double down on this theory, claiming that "it wasn't just right-wing extremists" who were involved. Allegations of left-wing agitation and infiltration have been routinely debunked

The Texas lawmaker also accused the FBI of "unfairly" targeting Trump supporters in their federal probe into the riot. "Where is the outrage about young people being unfairly treated?" he rambled. "Joe Biden's Justice Department is criminalizing political protest." Gohmert later echoed on CNN: "Any violence should not be downplayed. But people who are not engaged in violence should not be charged with crime." 

Following his speech, Gohmert posed and took a picture with known QAnon conspiracy theorist and podcaster RedPill78, who openly admitted to storming the Capitol building on January 6. 

Around the time of the riot, Gohmert distinguished himself as a loyal Trump booster, spreading the baseless conspiracy theory of systematic fraud at the ballots in the 2020 general election. Back in January, Gohmert filed a lawsuit on Trump's behalf, arguing that a judge should be compelled to tell former Vice President Mike Pence that he had the right to overturn the electoral college votes in President Joe Biden's favor. (Pence in fact did not have this right.) The suit was dismissed twelve hours after its filing.

Many have speculated that Trump is attempting to overturn the election by cheerleading fallacious election audits in various GOP-led states, the largest of which has now dragged on for months now in Maricopa County, Arizona with no end in sight.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News.

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Brief Capitol Riot Gohmert Qanon Texas