Supporters of the Q-Anon conspiracy theory are reacting with outrage to President Donald Trump’s announcement Friday that had reached a deal with lawmakers to end the partial government shutdown without the $5.7 billion he had previously demanded for his border wall.
The Q-Anon theory gained some mainstream exposure in 2018, when a small number of supporters were seen waving Q signs at Trump rallies. In a nutshell, the conspiracy holds that Trump, at some unspecified point in the future, will declare martial law and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will hand down hundreds of sealed indictments against Deep State “traitors” like Hillary Clinton, George Soros and President Barack Obama.
After its 15 minutes of fame last summer, the Q-Anon movement started to die down, as pro-Trump online figures like Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter, WikiLeaks, and Michael Flynn Jr. all denounced the theory as fake. Noted far-right troll Jack Posobiec also ran a segment on One America News in September in which he claimed to have “exposed” Q-Anon as a hoax. That month, Reddit, which had been Q supporters’ home-base for months, also banned r/GreatAwakening, the Q-Anon subreddit, for violations of content policy.
That did not deter the hardline believers however, who migrated to alternate platforms such as Voat (a Reddit “free speech” knockoff) where they continued to speculate when the “Storm” — i.e. the arrests — would be made. Trump’s proposed border wall was seen as proof that Q-Anon was real, as it pointed to the overarching idea that Trump was fighting back and winning against the Deep State.
Trump’s latest back-down, then, has triggered confrontation and controversy within the Q community. As Q-Anon researcher Travis View noted, initial reaction to Trump’s announcement was not positive, as it lent credence to the theory that Q was a hoax, and that Trump was not orchestrating 5-D chess moves against the Deep State cabal.
A lot of people in the QAnon community are not happy with the deal to temporarily reopen the government with no wall funding:
"Only questions remaining will be 'Was Q fucking with us completely, or was Q just mainly fucking with us?'" pic.twitter.com/HbgjsNgG3U
— Travis View (@travis_view) January 25, 2019
Initial reactions on Voat were equally negative. “This is an embarrassment,” one Q-supporter wrote. “I had such high hopes for our President, but it has become clear he just has no chance of defeating the evil that rules our country. As far as Q goes, sad to say how hard I fell for a LARP [Live Action Roleplay, a common insult in far-right online circles].” Another Q-supporter put things in simpler terms, writing “fuck all of you, drumming on that we all need to trust a plan you’ve never seen and can’t even prove exists.”
The community was soon overrun with other posts pushing back against Trump’s supposed cave-in. Some pleaded for more time, others claimed that the Democrats would emerge looking worse (despite a new AP poll showing Trump at his lowest approval ratings since taking office) and that the matter was out of Trump’s hands. Many posters were also outwardly hostile to Trump’s concession and, for that matter, the entire Q-Anon theory.
It's early, but the initial reaction by the #QAnon crew to Trump caving on the shutdown is really negative. No "5-D chess master" stuff, just pissed off and betrayed true believers. Pay attention to this. pic.twitter.com/2RBCVKw2VY
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) January 25, 2019
The reaction is worrying, as Q-Anon supporters have previously shown themselves capable of stunts that are both dangerous and have the capacity for violence. Last June for instance a man with an AR-15 drove onto the Hoover Dam in an armored truck, demanding the government release evidence validating Q-Anon.