As bonkers as this sounds, there are some conspiracy theorists on the right-wing fringe who believe Donald Trump didn't just win the election he lost, he's also still the president.
For example, Lin Wood, a pro-Trump attorney, recently told an audience that the former president "is still the guy the military will call" in the event of a crisis. He added that President Joe Biden only appears to be the president.
Obviously, no one should believe such nonsense. But as the HuffPost noted, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared on Newsmax on Friday and used rhetoric that will likely make the unhinged conspiracy theories worse.
[Meadows] has been meeting with former President Donald Trump and "Cabinet members" about plans to "move forward in a real way," he claimed in a Newsmax interview on Friday. He refused to divulge the specifics of plans being discussed with Trump — whom he referred to as "the president" — at the former president's Bedminster golf club in New Jersey.
As the video of the exchange shows, Meadows described Trump as "a president who is fully engaged, highly focused, and remaining on task."
The North Carolina Republican added, in apparent reference to Trump and his team, "We met with several of our cabinet members tonight."
The New York Times' Maggie Haberman responded the next day, "I can't stop thinking about this interview. The former chief of staff is talking as if there's a shadow presidency going on (there isn't) at a time when there's a conspiracy theory that Trump will be reinstated (he won't)."
Quite right. Meadows' comments appeared to be coming from some alternate reality. The former chief of staff described Trump as a fully engaged president, despite the fact that Trump is neither fully engaged nor president. Meadows went on to reference Trump's cabinet members, despite the fact that former presidents have neither cabinets nor cabinet members.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), a non-partisan watchdog group, added, "We can't believe we have to say this, but no, Donald Trump is not secretly running the country from a golf course in New Jersey."
That's true, though for those on the fringe, Meadows' rhetoric will likely be seen as evidence to the contrary.