QAnon fans celebrate his latest embrace of the conspiracy

The meme Trump shared on Truth Social featured an illustration of him with a “Q” on his lapel and two QAnon slogans – “The Storm is Coming” and “WWG1WGA” (Where we go one, we go all). A few days later, he held a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, where he delivered part of his speech to music that sounded almost exactly like a song associated with QAnon. As he did so, a group of his supporters in the crowd began to point to the sky together.

“When we saw that, we realized we might have a problem,” a Trump adviser told CNN. The former president’s team spent hours online after the rally trying to understand what the salute meant and where it might have come from, sources said.

Some thought the crowd pointing a finger (their index finger) skyward was referring to Trump’s “America First” platform, said a Trump aide, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity. Another said he thinks it refers to “God first,” while others thought it might be a nod to the QAnon slogan, “Where we go, we all go.”

Even among academics and pundits who follow QAnon and other disinformation online, the answer to what it all means remains unclear. You had never seen this one-finger salute before.

But the post was greeted on Truth Social by conspiracy theory supporters who believe in the existence of an evil cabal and see Trump as their hero.

“At this point, anyone denying that Q was a legitimate operation associated with the Trump administration is in denial of a major denial,” reads a post on a QAnon-supporting Truth Social account that has 120,000 followers .

Members of the crowd point the finger at Trump's rally in Ohio.

Trump seems to have been involved with QAnon issues in the past. However, some employees, who were not authorized to speak publicly, have dismissed concerns about their boss’s behavior, attributing it to the mindless social media reposts of a “boomer”.

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His team has continued to use a song at recent rallies after some of his aides were revealed in early August that he had QAnon connections.

Trump aides believe the former president reposted the meme, not because it referenced QAnon, but because it was styled like a “Game of Thrones” poster and indicated that it resembled a poster Trump used as a President brought to a cabinet meeting.

Thoughtless or not, some experts say what Trump is doing is dangerous. “What we have is a former president, a potential candidate for the presidency of the United States, who is legitimizing what is essentially a cult,” said Greg Ehrie, a former FBI special agent now associated with the Anti-Defamation League ( ADL) works together. said CNN on Tuesday.

The FBI last year warned of QAnon’s potential to foment violence, and some individuals involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol wore or were wearing QAnon paraphernalia.

Trump has previously shared QAnon-related memes — often retweeting conspiracy theorists while he was president before being removed from Twitter. When asked about QAnon in 2020, Trump replied, “Well, I don’t know much about the movement other than they like me a lot.”

According to a person close to Trump, the former president is known for making posts on his Truth Social account, often without looking closely at the accounts he’s made or their content. “The QAnon stuff is way over his head,” claimed a Trump aide, describing a commonly held view in his orbit.

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Another person who spoke to Trump recently told CNN, “I’ve never heard him talk about Q, and I can’t imagine he’s a supporter or even knows much about it.” Still, the person said , Trump’s advisers would have “pushed him away from such things.” Trump’s team has a policy of asking supporters at his rallies to remove QAnon-themed t-shirts and posters once they’re in the venue.

Still, Trump has refused to directly oppose the move, which the FBI has warned is dangerous.

And while major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have had policies banning explicit QAnon content since 2020, Trump-era conspiracy theory is thriving on Truth Social.

“I think the responsibility is on him to avoid that kind of crap,” said another Trump ally.

A song with hints of QAnon

As for the song Trump played at his rally last Saturday night, which has been linked to QAnon, Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich publicly dismissed concerns about the music as “a pathetic attempt to create controversy and divide America.”

But privately, Trump’s team wanted to know his origin at the weekend.

There seem to be two versions of almost identical songs online. One, named after the QAnon tagline “WWG1WGA” and available on Spotify, is by an artist named Richard Feelgood. Another entitled “Mirrors” is by a respected composer. Trump’s team say they sourced the song from the latter using stock music software.

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The song was first used by the Trump team in a walkup video at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas in early August. The video’s score had been lifted from a music service called Storyblocks by an employee looking for “somber” and “epic” tunes, a person familiar with the music selection told CNN. Another source said it was chosen for the right fit after hours of listening to royalty-free songs, adding that the song never went through any vetting process before being used in the video.

Some Trump employees became aware of the QAnon connection in early August after seeing an article by The Daily Beast that identified the connection to Feelgood’s version.

Nevertheless, they continued to use it. Trump shared a video with Truth Social in which the music accompanied campaign-style footage, and then played it at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month for dramatic emphasis during his final remarks.

While an aide noted that a small group of supporters raised their fingers during this Pennsylvania rally, the team didn’t give it much thought. Trump was blown away by the impact of the music under his speech, and the song made its next appearance in Ohio, where crowd reaction went viral last Saturday.

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