WASHINGTON — The nation’s capital was prepared for potential mass violence Wednesday as Joe Biden was inaugurated. The anticipated large pro-Trump demonstrations did not take place, but one man did take to the streets to protest Biden’s victory.
Speaking late morning a few blocks from the White House, former NBA player David Wood pointed out that Trump didn’t say Biden’s name in his recorded farewell address on Tuesday evening, and maintained that it indicated the outgoing president would not actually leave office.
“Review his speech last night,” Wood said of Trump. “He said he’s going to do a peaceful transfer to the next administration, which is going to be his next administration.”
Wood’s one-man protest comes two weeks after the violent insurrection staged by supporters of the former president at the U.S. Capitol, which led to five deaths. In response, much of the downtown area in the nation’s capital was turned into a fortified “green zone” patrolled by thousands of members of the National Guard.
The security plans appear so far to have kept many protesters away from the Capitol and inaugural activities. Downtown Washington was subdued on the morning of Biden’s swearing-in, and Wood was the only clearly visible protester in sight.
Wood, a journeyman forward who played nine seasons for eight different NBA teams, was standing just outside the security cordon about an hour before Biden was sworn in. He carried a Jewish shofar horn and a Revolutionary War flag that was used by some of the Capitol rioters, and wore a sweater featuring images of Jesus Christ embracing the American flag.
“I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I love God. I worship God with my horn,” Wood told Yahoo News.
Along with the religious rhetoric, Wood espoused a series of conspiracy theories, including Trump’s claim that Biden’s victory was fraudulent. Trump and his allies have spent the weeks since Biden’s victory in November falsely suggesting Trump was not legitimately defeated. The election results have been verified by experts and officials, including many from Trump’s Republican Party.
A slew of legal challenges from Trump’s campaign were defeated in the courts. Nevertheless, Trump reiterated his lies about winning the election at a Jan. 6 rally on the National Mall just before his supporters stormed the Capitol. In that speech, he encouraged his faithful to “fight” and indicated he expected some of them to march on the Capitol, where Biden’s victory was being certified by senators.
Wood, who insisted that “there’s a group of organized people that want to take away our rights,” said he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6. However, despite the extensive vandalism and violence broadcast live during that event, he maintained that the president and his supporters were peaceful that day.
“I couldn’t believe the spin on that. The Trump rally was amazingly peaceful,” Wood said, later adding, “That’s not inciting a riot. It’s so ridiculous. The spin in the media is really, really bad.”
While Wood refused to believe coverage of the insurrection, he was unshakable in his conviction that Trump will remain in power.
“I’ll tell you what’s going to happen, Donald Trump is going to serve four more years,” he said. “Joe Biden could be inaugurated. He could be arrested right after he’s inaugurated, but it’s safe to say he’s going to resign soon.”
Wood’s protest attracted a small gaggle of reporters. Many of his bizarre comments echo QAnon conspiracy theories that gained traction online during the Trump administration. Those widely debunked theories were promoted by individuals online who claimed to be a government insider with a “Q” security clearance.
Believers in QAnon have suggested Trump and others were fighting against Democrats who are part of an evil cabal dedicated to Satanism and pedophilia. A number of self-identified QAnon adherents participated in the Capitol insurrection.
Wood, who made millions in the NBA, is a stark example of how delusional online rhetoric has spread far beyond the fringe and has radicalized people from all walks of life. Multiple Republican members of Congress have also courted QAnon believers. While Wood insisted he isn’t a Q devotee, he admitted the movement had some appeal to him.
“Q has predicted some things. I don’t follow Q, I don’t even know where you seek Q,” he said.
A slew of supposed Q predictions have not come to pass, including the idea that Biden would not take office due to the secret efforts of Trump, Q and their supporters. Minutes after Wood spoke to the press, Trump arrived at his private club in Florida and Biden was sworn in as the 46th president.
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