January 1, 2020

PLAYING TO HIS BASE:

Trump Throws Fresh Fuel on Dangerous QAnon Conspiracy Theory (Will Sommer, Jan. 01, 2020, Daily Beast)

[L]ate last week, Trump or someone with access to his account retweeted a message of support containing the "WWG1WGA" hashtag, a reference to a QAnon motto. In total, Trump retweeted QAnon fans more than twenty times on the same day. 

Trump's Twitter activity provided new fuel for QAnon fans, who are convinced, among other things, that Trump is on the verge of arresting and executing top Democrats at Guantanamo Bay. QAnon Twitter accounts and messages boards seized on Trump's retweets as a tacit acknowledgment of their conspiracy theory's validity, while the retweets also provided the QAnon promoters Trump boosted with access to tens of millions of new potential believers.

"It draws more eyes," Roy Davis--a QAnon promoter known to believers as "Captain Roy" and the co-author of an Amazon chart-topping book pushing the conspiracy theory--told The Daily Beast.

It wasn't the first time Trump pushed QAnon on his more than 68 million followers. In November, Media Matters counted more than thirty times that Trump had retweeted QAnon believers, a number that has only gone up since then. 

Nor was this the first time Trump or his campaign have referred to QAnon in ways that have been seen by the conspiracy theory's believers as proof that it's real. In July, Trump invited QAnon promoters and other social media figures to the White House for a "social media summit." A warm-up speaker at a Trump rally used a QAnon slogan in a speech, and Trump's campaign featured two QAnon believers in an ad, apparently accidentally. 

But QAnon believers, some of whom have alienated friends and family for their conspiracy theory, are especially desperate for validation from the president himself -- or, saving that, from his Twitter account. That makes Trump's retweets especially potent at further entrenching their beliefs.

Posted by at January 1, 2020 7:22 PM

  

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