Will Donald Trump be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States and is the military in charge because Joe Biden is not the legitimate president? No, that's not true. Attorney L. Lin Wood made those false claims -- all of which Lead Stories has previously debunked -- in an interview. Under the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Biden became president officially on January 20, 2021. He is the commander in chief of the military, the military is not in charge of the United States. Trump will not be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States.
The claims, made early in 2021, popped up again in a video (archived here) where it was published on YouTube on May 23, 2021, titled, "Trump To Be Sworn In 19th President of Restored Republic! NCSWIC! Must See Latest Lin Wood Interview." It opened:
"James Red Pills America. You've been brainwashed."
Click below to watch the video on YouTube:
The video was originally posted on Bitchute.com on January 24, 2021, where pro-Trump attorney Wood made his false claims about Trump, Biden and the military during an interview with "Pastor James" who runs the conspiracy website James Red Pills America. The video went viral again in May 2021 but circumstances have not changed to make the claims anything but false. We will break them down here:
Fact: Donald Trump will not be sworn-in as the 19th president
At 25:26 in the YouTube video Wood makes the claim:
I'd like to see President Trump come back and serve as the 19th President of the United States of America the Republic. Because that's the number that would apply if we went back in time to when we became inc [sic]."
Wood is repeating a well-worn conspiracy theory claim that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871, as Lead Stories debunked here.
The claim is that the act established the United States as a corporation and that all presidents since then have been illegitimate. That ignores the legal meaning of the term "incorporate." What the act did was establish a new, unified government for Washington, D.C. With a few exceptions, every city or state was "incorporated" in the same way. The act made no changes in the nation as a whole and is not the basis for a restoration of Trump's powers. You can see the full text of the act here and read a Lead Stories debunk of the theory here.
The conspiracy theory posits that since the United States was not a government but was a corporation, the real inauguration day would revert back to March 4, which it was prior to the 20th Amendment, and not January 20. Lead Stories debunked the claim here. Trump was not sworn in on March 4, 2021, and Biden was still the president as of May 25, 2021.
Fact: The military is not in charge of the country
At 9:46 in the video Wood says:
So, if you ask me do I know who's in charge? No, I know I'm not. I know God is, but in the terms of the three choices I believe that the rule of law is being followed and it's my belief that the military is in charge of this country right now ... it has been since 12 o'clock noon on January the 20th.
Wood is then asked by the interviewer how he could prove that claim to others. Wood responds:
I would tell them to look at the applicable laws. I would tell them to look at ... what's going on with the inauguration. Why was Biden sworn in almost, I believe, 17 minutes early? Every inauguration the swearing-in occurs at 12:01 pm. Why was it early? Why did one friend tell me they saw one of the singers, maybe it was Lady Gaga or the Hunger Games outfit, be introduced and then on another channel she was finishing her song? Why does a man tell us publicly that he saw the inauguration 10 hours before it was supposed to be shown live in America he saw it in Spain. You know was anybody in Washington, D.C. that saw that inaugural ceremony take place? I think there's some concerns about whether we saw a fake inauguration that had been videotaped to Hollywood production that was disguised as a real inauguration, I know that it wasn't done on time.
Joe Biden is the official president and is in charge. Lead Stories has debunked this claim before here and here. Biden's presidency was made official January 20, 2021, under the terms of the 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution. He took the oath of office at 11:48 am. However, the 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution determines when a new president's term begins and the outgoing president's term ends. It is not based on the exact time of the oath:
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin."
Biden is commander in chief of the military. The military is not in control of the White House. Lead Stories has debunked similar claims about the military and Biden here and here and spokespersons for the Department of Defense have made clear they serve the commander in chief, who is the sworn-in president, Joe Biden.
Lead Stories also previously debunked the claim that the Biden inauguration was pre-recorded here. Conspiracy theorist Charlie Ward claimed that he had a video hours before the live broadcasts on January 20, 2021, and that he "shared it with all my people." He offered no proof of his claim. He did not share the video or any clips or images or identify his "people" that he claims showed him the video. For such a vast conspiracy to have succeeded in secret, every single elected official who attended, personnel from network and cable channels that aired it and scores of people including uniformed troops who were on hand would have to have knowingly cooperated and remained silent. And it would have to have been carried out without the realization of Washingtonians that crowds of people and an army of media crews were filming before the appointed time. Inauguration ceremonies included leaders from all branches of government and media outlets from all over the world. Ward offered no independent verification of the claim.