What Is QAnon? Right-Wing Conspiracy Group Makes A Splash At Florida Trump Rally
During President Donald Trump’s campaign rally for GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis in Florida Tuesday night, a surprising number of signs appeared displaying the words, “We Are Q.”
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) July 31, 2018
The signs are evidence of the growing community of QAnon — followers of a far-right conspiracy theory that alleges Trump is currently embroiled in a battle against a cabal of high-ranking Democrats and Hollywood celebrities who secretly operate child sex trafficking rings nationwide.
What Is QAnon?
The movement began online after an anonymous poster known as Q began posting to message boards including 4chan and 8chan. There, he claimed to be a high-ranking government official, with security clearance “Q”, who was sharing insider government secrets with the masses.
Critics have since attributed the movement’s growing popularity among Trump supporters to the increasing number of allegations held against the president. Faced with evidence of potential wrongdoing by someone they support, believers have instead chosen to dive deeper into the conspiracy with the belief that it is all part of Trump’s grand plan. According to the theory, Trump is actually working with special counsel Robert Mueller and the entire Russia probe is actually a cover for their joint secret investigation into these child sex rings. Q also claims that the Clintons and Obamas have already been indicted for their involvement in this sex trafficking operation and are currently wearing ankle bracelets.
The theory also alleges that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was put in power by the CIA and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz ordered the MS-13 gang to murder DNC employee Seth Rich on the baseless claim that Rich leaked the Clinton emails.
The anonymous user, Q, was listed as one of Time’s top “25 Most Influential People on the Internet” in 2018, having racked up more than 130,000 related discussion videos on YouTube, a widespread presence on Twitter and tens of thousands of followers on Reddit among other popular message boards.
While many have been quick to dismiss QAnon as a mere fringe movement, its mythical messages have prompted very real consequences. On June 15, 2018, a man armed with an AR-15, drove an armored vehicle to the Hoover Dam and engaged in a standoff with police in what he claimed to have been a mission from QAnon: to demand that the Justice Department “release the OIG report” on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s email server. The report had already been released the day before, but the theory alleges that a second, more incriminating report exists.
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