During his 2020 campaign, former President Donald Trump made a point of being vague when discussing the far-right QAnon movement. Trump refrained from overtly promoting QAnon and its conspiracy theories, but he wouldn't say anything critical of them either and claimed that he "didn't know much about" their movement.
Times have changed. Trump is now openly promoting QAnon and is using exact phrases associated with the group, including "the storm" and their slogan "where we go one, we go all." And Trump is hardly the only MAGA Republican who is embracing QAnon.
Mother Jones' David Corn describes the intersection of QAnon, MAGA and "Christian nationalism" as "QMaga," attacking it as an authoritarian threat to U.S. democracy in an article that was originally published in his Our Land newsletter and was republished by Mother Jones on September 23. Extremism in the GOP is a subject that Corn also tackles in his new book, "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy."
"For years, Trump had played footsie with QAnon, claiming he didn't know much about it but praising its adherents' supposed patriotism, their opposition to pedophilia and, naturally, their cultish love of him," Corn explains in his Mother Jones/Our Land article. "Offered the chance to denounce this perverse craziness, he bobbed and weaved…. No more. He went full QAnon the other day when he posted online a photoshopped image of him wearing a Q pin. To make the message clear, this picture proclaimed, 'The Storm Is Coming' — a QAnon catchphrase referring to that ultimate showdown between Trump and the evildoers. And it contained the abbreviation for the QAnon slogan, 'where we go one, we go all.'"
The fictional "evildoers" that Corn is referring to are, according to QAnon's outlandish conspiracy theory, an international cabal of child sex traffickers, pedophiles, Satanists and cannibals who have hijacked the United States' federal government. Trump, as QAnon sees it, was elected president in 2016 to fight the cabal — and QAnon believes that Trump's battle against the forces of darkness didn't end when he lost the 2020 election. Members of QAnon were among the far-right Trump supporters who violently attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.
"The insanity of a former, and possibly future, president bear-hugging QAnon cannot be overstated," Corn warns. "And this was no one-off, late-in-the-night s****posting from the former guy. He zapped out other posts with QAnon references. Then four days later, at a rally in Ohio, he delivered an apocalyptic speech against the backdrop of music resembling the QAnon theme song. It was here that Trump supporters raised their hands and pointed a finger — possibly signaling 'one,' in an allusion to that QAnon slogan."
Corn continues, "The supposed purpose of the event was to whip up support for GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance. But the gathering demonstrated the fusion of MAGA extremism with QAnon and Christian nationalism. The crowd cheered as Trump proclaimed the country had become a hellhole with a crumbling economy, rampant crime, and no freedom of speech. It was all lies, but the fervor of the crowd and the arm waving were reminiscent of a religious revival meeting."
According to Corn, the MAGA movement "has morphed into QMaga."
"The irrationality has spread from the evidence-free belief that sinister players — China, Venezuela, the CIA, the media, Democrats, voting machine companies — conspired to steal the election from Trump to the conviction that American politics has become a clash between patriotic Christians and cannibalistic Satan-worshipping pedophiles," Corn explains. "The Ohio arena was not full, and the empty seats indicated that Trump's mix of conspiracism, cult of personality, end-times ravings, and fundamentalism may not be a bestseller. But many of the GOP election denialists running in state elections this year — including gubernatorial candidates Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania, and Kari Lake, Arizona — have ties to QAnon."
Corn continues, "Both Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert were QAnoners before they were elected to Congress in the last election. But perhaps of greater concern is that the entire GOP, which has supported Trump's authoritarian Big Lie crusade, is now willing to follow Trump further into the depths of fearmongering and madness."