Commentator Joel Pollak noted that President Joe Biden was sworn in 12 minutes earlier than noon on Inauguration Day and suggested that for a brief period, both the Democrat and Donald Trump were heads of state at the same time.
“Biden takes the oath of office 12 minutes early… technically, we now have two presidents. An interesting constitutional dilemma,” he tweeted.
Afterward, Pollak noted on Twitter that Trump is still technically president until 12 p.m. Eastern time due to the 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
German reporter Ines Pohl claimed in a tweet that Biden took the vow early for “security reasons” to ensure that that the United States did not go “even a few seconds” without a leader, appearing to support Pollak’s claim.
Elsewhere, reporter Rich Preston claimed that it is not the swearing-in that determines a presidency.
“It happens at noon eastern, even if events are running late and the oath hasn’t been taken yet — or even if the oath is taken early! The Trump era ends and the Biden era begins at midday, regardless,” he tweeted.
According to The Washington Post, the 20th Amendment of the Constitution determines that a new presidential term begins at 12 p.m. — not the inaugural swearing-in. The publication cited constitutional experts who claimed that Biden’s presidency began at midday regardless of the time the vow takes place.
“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity. Unity.”
Biden acknowledged that the current division in the country might make it difficult to see the potential to unite the nation. However, he suggested that “disagreement” doesn’t have to cause “total war” and pushed back against a culture that is defined by the manipulation and manufacturing of facts.
The 46th president called on Americans to end the battle between various groups — left versus right, red versus blue, and rural versus urban.
As reported by CTV News, Trump departed the White House for the last time earlier in the morning. During his farewell address in Joint Base Andrews, he hinted at a possible return to politics before heading to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he was when Biden was sworn in just before noon. The real estate mogul was the first U.S. leader in modern history to pass on attending his predecessor’s inauguration.