Electoral College vs. the popular vote, explained
President Trump and President George W. Bush won the electoral vote during the election, but not the popular vote. How does the electoral college work?
Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
The claim: Donald Trump will be reinstated as president in August
Supporters of Donald Trump are promoting a conspiracy theory on social media suggesting the former president will return to the White House in August, even though he lost the 2020 election eight months ago.
The theory gained traction after MyPillow CEO and founder Mike Lindell and Trump’s former attorney Sidney Powell baselessly claimed in conservative media appearances that the Supreme Court would find evidence of voter fraud and a new inauguration date would be set. (Lindell denied to USA TODAY that he ever said Trump would be reinstated specifically on Aug. 13.)
Now, the claim has made its way to social media.
“TRUMP REINSTATED!” reads text over a fake newspaper cover that was shared to Facebook on July 18. The image includes other debunked claims about arrests, election fraud and more.
The user captioned the image: “SOON VERY SOON 08-05 2021.”
The post has more than 500 reactions and more than 300 shares. Similarly, some users on YouTube have asserted Trump will be back in office by Aug. 13.
Trump himself has reportedly told allies that he thinks he will be reinstated in August, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. A Politico/Morning Consult poll found 29% of Republican voters believe Trump will return to the White House this year.
Lindell claimed evidence of election fraud would be revealed at a “cyber symposium” event in August and the Supreme Court will overthrow the results of the 2020 election by a 9-0 vote, which would lead to Trump returning to office.
But the narrative that Trump will be reinstated as president is based on debunked conspiracy theories – not facts. Previous predictions about Trump returning to office proved wrong. There is no constitutional way for Trump to return to the White House before President Joe Biden’s term is over.
Fact check: Arizona early votes falsely cited as evidence of voter fraud
USA TODAY reached out to Powell and the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.
No constitutional way for Trump to be reinstated
Experts say there is no constitutional provision that would allow for Trump’s reinstatement. There is also no legal way to overturn election results after Congress has certified Electoral College votes. The election audits promoted by Trump and his allies provide no mechanism for Biden to be removed from office.
The United States Constitution provides that the candidate with the most votes from the Electoral College shall be president. A candidate must receive 270 electoral votes to win.
Emails show Trump urged DOJ to probe ‘voter fraud’
New emails show former president Donald Trump and his allies pressured the Justice Department to investigate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election in the last few weeks in office. (June 15)
Biden won 81 million votes to Trump’s 74 million, giving him 306 electoral votes. Those results were certified by Congress on Jan. 6, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Biden took the oath of office at noon on Jan. 20.
The 20th Amendment says the “terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January … and the terms of their successors shall then begin.” That means Biden’s term will last until January 2025.
Persistent, baseless allegations of voter fraud will not change that fact.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in November that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.” Additionally, then-Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election results.
Fact check: Trump lost the 2020 presidential election
Claims that Trump will be reinstated gained popularity among followers of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, which says Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of powerful politicians and celebrities that participate in an international child sex trafficking ring. QAnon adherents falsely claimed Trump would be reinstated on Jan. 20 and March 4, neither of which proved correct.
Election audits will not change the outcome
Trump supporters are holding on to the results of ongoing election audits to support the reinstatement theory. However, those recounts have found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Three separate audits of election results in Georgia, where Biden beat Trump by more than 10,000 votes, found no evidence of wrongdoing affecting the state’s results. An ongoing audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, also hasn’t surfaced any evidence of widespread voter fraud. A number of manual hand recounts across the country have affirmed Biden’s victory.
Phoenix, Arizona officials push back on election audit
Top county officials in Phoenix, Arizona, almost all of them Republicans, on Monday blasted the GOP state Senate president and the auditors she hired to run an unprecedented, partisan recount of the 2020 election in the county. (May 17)
At least 61 lawsuits from the Trump campaign alleging election fraud have failed. Courts in battleground states have denied hearing Trump’s appeals to overturn election results.
Business Insider reported that even if Lindell uncovered widespread election fraud, Congress could only remove Biden through impeachment. If Biden were removed from office, Vice President Kamala Harris would become president, not Trump.
Fact check: Altered Hunter Biden photo falsely claims Trump won the 2020 election
The only path for Trump to return to the presidency would be to win the 2024 presidential election race.
Our rating: False
The claim that Trump will be reinstated as president in August is FALSE, based on our research. The theory is based on debunked falsehoods about the 2020 election and has been promoted by QAnon supporters. There is no constitutional way for Trump to return to the White House unless he were to win the 2024 presidential race. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud affecting the 2020 election results, and a number of hand recounts have affirmed Biden’s victory.
Our fact-check sources:
- CNN, June 1, Fact-checking Sidney Powell’s claim Trump could be reinstated
- WTSP, Nov. 20, 2020, Once states certify election results the process moves forward
- National Archives, accessed July 22, The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription
- USA TODAY, Jan. 20, ‘This is America’s day’: Biden inaugurated as 46th president, Harris sworn in as vice president
- Constitution Annotated, accessed July 22, Amdt20.2 Twentieth Amendment: Doctrine and Practice
- USA TODAY, Dec. 15, 2020, Fact check: Joe Biden legally won presidential election, depsite persistent contrary claims
- USA TODAY, Jan. 4, The members of Congress who objected to Joe Biden’s Electoral College win amid Capitol riot
- USA TODAY, Nov. 12, Election security officials: ‘No evidence voting systems compromised’
- USA TODAY, Dec. 1, Attorney General Barr: Justice Department finds no evidence of fraud to alter election outcome
- Associated Press, July 9, QAnon has receded from social media, but it’s just hiding
- Marc-André Argentino, Jan. 14, tweet
- USA TODAY, June 1, Fact check: No evidence of fraud in Georgia election results
- Associated Press, May 27, Auditors find no fraud in disputed New Hampshire election
- USA TODAY, Jan. 6, By the numbers: President Donald Trump’s failed efforts to overturn the election
- Business Insider, June 2, Why Trump can’t be reinstated in August
- Associated Press, June 4, Talk of Trump 2024 run builds as legal pressure intensifies
- George Panagiotakis, July 18, Facebook
- Conspiracy Killer, July 7, YouTube
- Ballotpedia, accessed July 23, Noteworthy recounts in the United States
- USA TODAY, April 28, Fact check: No evidence election audit in Maricopa County has found widespread election fraud
- USA TODAY, Dec. 7, 2020 Georgia President Election Results
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