Trump’s Cult of Conspiracy Theorists

On Tuesday night, Trump held a political rally in Tampa, Florida. Here’s just a taste of how his supporters treated Jim Acosta, who was reporting for CNN.

By this morning, both Donald Trump and Don Jr. had re-tweeted that video, demonstrating that they not only tolerate that kind of hate, they support it.

In reporting on the crowd that attended Tuesday night’s rally, Isaac Stanley-Becker writes that the conspiracists came out from behind their keyboards to support their hero.

Believers in “QAnon,” as the conspiracy theory is known, were front and center at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall, where Trump came to stump for Republican candidates. As the president spoke, a sign rose from the audience. “We are Q,” it read. Another poster displayed text arranged in a “Q” pattern: “Where we go one we go all.”

Actually, the QAnon signs and t-shirts were all over the arena.

In case you haven’t heard about QAnon, here’s a brief description:

In a nutshell, followers of QAnon fashion themselves as detectives, or “bakers,” who try to make sense out of vague bits of information, or “bread crumbs,” left for them on the Internet by “Q,” a mysterious figure purporting to be a government official with high-level clearance. The clues left by “Q” have led his disciples to believe that Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation is a cover, and Mueller is actually working in tandem with Trump to take down a murderous cabal of liberal elites that includes everyone from Tom Hanks to Barack Obama. QAnon believes these elites have been running an elaborate child sex ring for years, and that there is a “storm” coming in which Trump will throw all of these pedophiles in jail once and for all.

If you’ve been schooled in the “end times prophecy” embraced by many Christians, there is distinct resemblance with its true believers. QAnon has even borrowed the label “The Great Awakening” from the long history of its use during periods of religious revival.

The conspiracy theories embraced by these folks make birtherism seem almost benign. For example, it was QAnon that began the whole Pizzagate nonsense about Hillary Clinton running a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor. Frankly, these people are obsessed with pedophilia. As indicated in the description above, they talk about it constantly. But they also peddle the Seth Rich conspiracy theory and others that have flown further under the radar—like the one about the painting of Barack Obama at the Smithsonian being full of symbols identifying the former president as a jihadist who attempted to “de-flower” the country.

QAnon followers are gearing up for battle against the forces of evil and swallow every lie this president tells, without question. It is hard to believe that their numbers are that large, but they’re clearly on a mission to recruit as many followers as possible. There is no other way to describe all of that other than to call them what they are: a cult.

Oh, but keep in mind that while all of this is going on, the media is convinced that the big political story is extremism on the left. Even though I don’t condone violence of any kind, here’s my response to that:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.