After winking at QAnon for years, Donald Trump is overtly embracing the baseless conspiracy theory, even as the number of frightening real-world events linked to it grows.
On Tuesday, using his Truth Social platform, the Republican former president reposted an image of himself wearing a Q lapel pin overlaid with the words “The Storm is Coming.” In QAnon lore, the “storm” refers to Trump’s final victory, when supposedly he will regain power and his opponents will be tried, and potentially executed, on live television.
As Trump contemplates another run for the presidency and has become increasingly assertive in the Republican primary process during the midterm elections, his actions show that far from distancing himself from the political fringe, he is welcoming it.
He’s published dozens of recent Q-related posts, in contrast to 2020, when he claimed that while he didn’t know much about QAnon, he couldn’t disprove its conspiracy theory.
Pressed on QAnon theories that Trump allegedly is saving the nation from a satanic cult of child sex traffickers, he claimed ignorance but asked, “Is that supposed to be a bad thing?”
“If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it,” Trump said.
Trump’s recent postings have included images referring to himself as a martyr fighting criminals, psychopaths and the so-called deep state. In one now-deleted post from late August, he reposted a “q drop,” one of the cryptic message board postings that QAnon supporters claim come from an anonymous government worker with top secret clearance.
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Even when his posts haven’t referred to the conspiracy theory directly, Trump has amplified users who do. An Associated Press analysis found that of nearly 75 accounts Trump has reposted on his Truth Social profile in the past month, more than a third of them have promoted QAnon by sharing the movement’s slogans, videos or imagery. About 1 in 10 include QAnon language or links in their profile bios.
The former president may be seeking solidarity with his most loyal supporters at a time when he faces escalating investigations and potential challengers within his own party, according to Mia Bloom, a professor at Georgia State University who has studied QAnon and recently wrote a book about the group.
“These are people who have elevated Trump to messiah-like status, where only he can stop this cabal,” Bloom told the AP on Thursday. “That’s why you see so many images (in online QAnon spaces) of Trump as Jesus.”