After President Donald Trump endorsed the deranged and unhinged QAnon conspiracy theory, its supporters are celebrating the validation from the purported leader of the free world. The FBI has linked the conspiracy theory to domestic terrorism and it has been linked to multiple instances of violence.
During a daily briefing regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump was asked a poorly worded question about what he thought of the QAnon conspiracy theory and what he would “say to people who are following this movement right now?” He responded by saying that “I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate” and that “I've heard these are people that love our country.” He spent much of the rest of his answer condemning Democrats.
As Media Matters has explained, the conspiracy theory is tied to multiple acts of violence, and it has even prompted the FBI to issue a warning, listing QAnon as a potential domestic terrorism threat:
The conspiracy theory, which revolves around an anonymous account known as “Q,” started on far-right message board site 4chan and later moved to fellow far-right message board site 8chan, which has since relaunched as 8kun. (Beyond the QAnon conspiracy theory, 8chan/8kun has been linked to multiple instances of white supremacist terrorism, including the 2019 massacre in El Paso, Texas.)
The “Q” account’s claim -- and the conspiracy theory’s premise -- is that President Donald Trump was working with then-special counsel Robert Mueller to take down the president’s perceived enemies, the “deep state,” and pedophiles. Multiple adherents to the conspiracy theory have been tied to acts of violence, including multiple murders and attempted kidnappings, and an FBI field office released a memo in May 2019 that listed QAnon as a potential domestic terrorism threat.
Just days ago, The Daily Beast reported that a woman allegedly planned to violently kidnap her son from his foster home, before going on the run, as she believed the QAnon conspiracy theory that foster care was a front for a child sex-trafficking ring. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that QAnon supporters are hijacking actual tools used to combat trafficking, such as anti-trafficking hotlines, with their conspiracy theories. This was the case following a recent bogus QAnon conspiracy theory about Wayfair.
Dozens of QAnon conspiracy theorists have run for Congress and state legislatures this year, and many of them will be on the ballot come November, including Lauren Boebert in Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia. Both are running in GOP-leaning districts and could be elected. Media Matters compiled a growing list of Republicans who have pushed and built up the QAnon conspiracy theory. Trump has also personally amplified QAnon-promoting Twitter accounts over 200 times.
On Fox, prime-time host Sean Hannity even gave Boebert a friendly interview after she won her primary. Fox News’ Jesse Watters distanced himself from Q after praising it on his show. In fact, one Fox Nation host is an outspoken QAnon conspiracy theorist. (There is certainly no one on Fox News harshly condemning the conspiracy theory. Trump, of course, is an avid Fox News watcher.)
As you would expect, after Trump’s remarks, QAnon conspiracy theorists were thrilled: