Trump touted the endorsement of an unhinged QAnon conspiracy theorist and birther

An image of Paul Vallely during an interview

President Donald Trump and his campaign have touted the endorsement of right-wing commentator Paul E. Vallely, a retired U.S. Army major general and QAnon conspiracy theorist. Vallely, who is also a birther, has claimed that “Q” is a “cadre of retired military intelligence officers" and praised “Q” for purportedly passing along ”real” and “fact-based intelligence." 

On October 1, Trump tweeted out a list of “former Republican national security and senior officials” who are supporting Trump. Among the endorsees was Vallely. On September 14, the Trump campaign touted Vallely’s endorsement in a list of “235 senior military leaders” who are backing the president. 

Paul Vallely is a unhinged right-wing conspiracy theorist who once worked for Fox News. He has falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama’s “actual birth certificate has never been found”; called for a citizen’s arrest of Obama; and volunteered to lead a revolution against the former president with 250,000 Marines. In addition to all of that, Vallely is a QAnon conspiracy theorist. 

QAnon is a violence-linked conspiracy theory 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 Trump is secretly working to take down the purported “deep state,” a supposed cabal of satanic high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings. The FBI has labeled the conspiracy theory a potential domestic terror threat. (Media Matters has documented how Trump, his campaign, and the Republican Party have built up the QAnon conspiracy theory.) 

Vallely has claimed that “Q” is a legitimate source that releases “real intelligence, fact-based intelligence” to the public. 

He appeared on the program Americanuck Radio on October 14 and October 30 of 2019 and backed QAnon. His comments on that program have been promoted online as supposed confirmation of the legitimacy of Q.

In the first appearance, Vallely claimed that Q is “tied to information” from “a group of military intelligence specialists of over 800 people that advise the president.”

During his second appearance, Vallely claimed that QAnon “is a white hat” operation, an apparent reference to researchers or hackers that essentially use their skills for good. He added: “It is a white information system that gathers information, intelligence, and puts it out through a distribution that's called QAnon. And as we can see, most of the reports that come in from Q are very valid. The only thing they've been off on a little bit is when Attorney General [William] Barr is going to come out with indictments and the word was put out for the Red October to be October 18. Well, that's since been delayed. So we're all standing by for these [inaudible] from the attorney general of the United States regarding the Russian collusion and the silent coup against President Trump.” 

In a November 19, 2019, appearance on Steel Truth with QAnon supporter Ann Vandersteel, Vallely said that Q is “a cadre of retired military intelligence officers” and “they gather real intelligence, fact-based intelligence then that they can pass on”: 

PAUL E. VALLELY: Well, I probably don't know that much more than you do other than I've been on the receiving end of the distribution of Q reports that come out. And like you, I understand it's a -- it's a cadre of retired military intelligence officers that closely watch what's going on in our government and basically in the intelligence business, which I was in for years. They gather real intelligence, fact-based intelligence then that they can pass on and they do this discreetly now through the internet and through an email distribution postings. So we'll see. They've been forecasting what's going to happen with Attorney General Barr’s release, his imminent release, hopefully what's going to be within the next week and before Thanksgiving, on the sealed indictments that they have against these people who have betrayed the country like [James] Clapper, [James] Comey, [John] Brennan, and the rest of them all going back to [Hillary] Clinton and even into the White House to Obama. So they’re tracking that. So that's about all I can tell you about Q.