Supporters of the false QAnon conspiracy theory are struggling to respond to President Joe Biden taking office.
The conspiracy theory has been centered around former President Donald Trump and a secret plot to take down his perceived enemies, the “deep state,” and a cabal of satan-worshipping pedophiles. Supporters of the conspiracy theory, which has gained an extensive influence in the American political process and hampered the response to the coronavirus pandemic, had been in denial about Biden’s victory throughout the transition. They repeatedly claimed that somehow Trump would stay in office -- possibly via military means and martial law -- even when he made clear otherwise.
That denial about Biden’s presidency carried through in the morning hours of Inauguration Day (though there were signs by the day before of a splintering in support for the conspiracy theory).
First, QAnon supporters began to claim that the number of American flags behind Trump at his farewell speech at Joint Base Andrews was a signal to QAnon.
Some QAnon followers also suggested a line in Eric Trump’s farewell message saying “the best is yet to come” proved the conspiracy theory.
Multiple QAnon influencers even claimed that as he took office, Biden would reveal he was part of the conspiracy theory all along.
Obviously, none of this happened, and Biden has now been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Leading up to and following the inauguration ceremony, some QAnon supporters began to worry that they had been deceived and others denied that it was possible. Other QAnon influencers are still urging supporters to still believe in the conspiracy theory, with some claiming the military may step in to prevent Biden’s presidency (or seeming to suggest people will commit violence to stop it), a sign that the conspiracy theory in some form is likely here to stay -- even if its central figure is no longer president.