Editorial: Donald Trump’s New Fling: QAnon

Donald Trump’s recent endorsement of Georgia Republican congressional candidate and QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene is yet another indication that Trump’s presidency has nothing to do with the pursuit of truth or integrity, and everything to do with what Trump sees as sustenance for his ego.

Following Greene’s primary win, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”

No one should be surprised by Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement of Greene on the basis of her vocal racism and xenophobia. She is a 9/11 truther, and has made statements that Muslims don’t belong in government, that members of the Black Lives Matter movement are “idiots,” and that “the most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males.” Those statements fit perfectly with the ideology of Donald Trump.

When one digs further into the sinister cult-like QAnon movement itself, however, it may be hard to understand why anyone, especially the president of the United States, could consider a QAnon supporter to be fit for a public office— until one discovers that the prevailing QAnon conspiracy theories are about Donald Trump, himself.

The currently dominant (and baseless) QAnon conspiracy claims that a cabal of Satan-worshipping and blood-drinking pedophiles that includes politicians and A-list celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, and of course…the Democrats, are in cahoots with governments around the globe to engage in child sex trafficking. (They conveniently leave out all of those images of Trump himself partying with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.) Followers also believe there is a “deep state” that wants to take down Trump. Why? Because Donald Trump has arrived on the scene to vanquish them.

Other QAnon conspiracy theories involve mass shootings (such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, which they claim didn’t really happen), and now the coronavirus (including the idea that 5G cellular networks spread the virus).

Greene posted a video on social media, in which she says, “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”

One would expect a rational person to either be horrified but this cult-like movement, or to laugh at its absurdity. Not Donald Trump. Trump is not a reader, and we know that he is not a critical thinker or an avid consumer of factual information, even if someone were to read it to him. His comprehension of the QAnon movement stops at “I understand they like me very much.” That’s all Trump needs in order to embrace it.

When a reporter told Trump that the crux of QAnon is the belief that he is “secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” Trump responded, “Well I haven’t heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?”

Trump doesn’t appear to care that he is legitimizing a dangerous cult-like movement that the FBI considers a “domestic terrorist threat.” The FBI has catalogued QAnon as an “anti-government, identity-based, and fringe political (web of) conspiracy theories” that “very likely motivate some domestic extremists to commit criminal, sometimes violent activity.”

For Donald Trump, all that matters is that “QAnon supporters like me very much, which I appreciate” (and therefore, “They love our country”).

Upon learning that QAnon sees him as somewhat of a Christlike figure, Trump also said, “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there… And we are actually. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country, and when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow.”

Though QAnon may have become Donald Trump’s favorite conspiracy theory (what narcissist wouldn’t love to be seen as a messiah, even if by lunatics?), he has promoted at least 25 additional conspiracy theories since his candidacy. Another favorite recent Trump conspiracy theory centers on the question of Kamala Harris’ citizenship and qualifications for the office of Vice President, based on the fact that her parents were immigrants. (Harris, born in Oakland, California, is an American citizen.) And who could forget the similar theory around President Barack Obama’s birth certificate? Additionally, there’s the battery of disinformation and conspiracy around the coronavirus— its origin, scale, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Donald Trump’s legacy will include the conspiracy culture that he has fostered, and in part, created.

QAnon and similar movements support Donald Trump’s worldview, and any movement that does that, no matter how false, dangerous, or violent, will be embraced by Donald Trump, because the only truth that interests him is his truth.

Many high-ranking House Republican leaders have distanced themselves from Marjorie Taylor Greene and from QAnon. After Trump legitimized the movement, however, some have changed their stance and are now supporting Greene. As these leaders continually demonstrate, they, too, tend to align with Trump’s truth.

“The president has weakened the antibodies in the Republican Party against nutty conspiracy theories because the president himself believes in them,” said journalist and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

With every retweet and remark supporting unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories and their believers, Donald Trump gives them more credibility and authority. And each time Trump chooses his ego over his country, he adds to the glut of political and medical disinformation— and ignorance—  filling our country. The result is the moral, spiritual, physical, and even financial price Americans are now paying. And when Donald Trump endorsed QAnon supporter Marjory Taylor Greene, he demonstrated, again, that he was more than willing for us to pick up the tab.

President Trump not shying from support of QAnon conspiracy theorists |
CBS This Morning [2020-08-20]

Trump PRAISES QAnon supporters | The Hill {2020-08-19]

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