Martha McSally spoke at an event with QAnon conspiracy theorist and anti-masker Daniel Wood

An image of Martha McSally and Daniel Wood on October 10

Daniel Wood is a longshot Republican House candidate who has used social media to push conspiracy theories related to QAnon and to encourage people to not wear masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite his history of conspiratorial claims and dangerous medical misinformation, Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who is running in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, spoke at a political rally with Wood this weekend. 

McSally’s appearance at an event with Wood is yet another example of how Republicans have helped legitimize QAnon. The conspiracy theory is based on cryptic posts to online message boards from an anonymous user known as “Q" that have spread rampantly on social media and among fringe right-wing media. QAnon conspiracy theorists essentially believe that President Donald Trump is secretly working to take down the purported “deep state,” a supposed cabal of high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings. The FBI has labeled the conspiracy theory as a potential domestic terror threat. 

Wood, who is running for the House in a heavily Democratic Arizona congressional district, has frequently expressed support for QAnon with the help of social media. (Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been instrumental in helping spread QAnon.) He has repeatedly written pro-QAnon tweets; said on a QAnon program that he loves the conspiracy theory’s slogan; and he wrote a Facebook post explaining why “I do follow QAnon at times.”  

He has also pushed coronavirus conspiracy theories that originated through social media. During a recent debate, Wood forwarded the false claim -- which was promoted by QAnon supporters -- that the actual count of U.S. coronavirus deaths by the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is just 9,000. He also promoted the conspiracy theory video “Covid911 - INSURGENCY” by major QAnon figure “Joe M.” (Both Wood’s tweet and the video are no longer available.) 

Wood posted a July 29 Facebook Live video in which he encouraged people to not wear masks. He stated that “as someone who knows this stuff, it makes no sense to me to go around wearing a mask.” He falsely claimed that wearing a face covering “lowers your immune system" and later called it “a muzzle.” (The false immune system claim has been repeated on social media and YouTube.) In reality, science shows that proper mask wearing helps stop the spread of the coronavirus, and wearing it does not lower your immune system. 

In the July 29 video, Wood also repeated the false right-wing media conspiracy theory that the coronavirus pandemic began as “a biological attack by China” and conspiratorially said that “every ... four-year election year, we have riots and we have viruses.” 

McSally and Wood appeared together at a Latinos for Trump rally on October 10 in Yuma, Arizona. During his speech, Wood claimed that “we’re dealing with an insurrection in our country” because of the Democrats. He also stated that “we need to spread the word because, hey, we’re getting censored but they can’t censor the people,” and said they need to tell folks to vote for people like McSally and himself to help Trump. McSally gave a stump speech in which she heavily attacked opponent Mark Kelly and said that Trump needed to be reelected. (The speeches did not specifically mention QAnon.) 

McSally posted a video from the event that included Wood's remarks. 

McSally and Wood also took a picture together at another political event in August, which was posted on Wood’s Facebook page. 

The Arizona Republican Party has openly backed the self-described QAnon follower, as Media Matters previously noted. State GOP Chair Kelli Ward hosted Wood in a video interview last month and told him that he’s “a man after my own heart.”