It has been a tough week for believers of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory. After Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s lawyer and former campaign manager, pleaded guilty and were convicted on Tuesday, some QAnon backers started to reevaluate whether special counsel Robert Mueller was really working with Trump to break up Democrats’ child sex rings:
The Qanon narrative no longer makes sense after today's verdict and plea deal, and the community is trying to come to grips with it. pic.twitter.com/qlwoQaQBUn
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 21, 2018
Though it has become more visible at Trump’s recent rallies, the president had not commented on QAnon or taken steps to embrace it like numerous other conspiracy theories.
That changed on Friday as Lionel Lebron, a notorious QAnon promoter, tweeted out a picture with Trump in the Oval Office of the White House:
There are simply no words to explicate the profound and ineffable honor of meeting @realDonaldTrump in the tabernacle of liberty, the Oval Office. @LynnShawProd and I so appreciate @POTUS’ kindness and courtesy. #MAGA pic.twitter.com/9rfxca2Kbd
— Lionel🇺🇸 (@LionelMedia) August 24, 2018
“I think we all know he knows about it.”
QAnon has been promoted by conservatives like Roseanne Barr and Curt Schilling. The conspiracy theory is linked to the suspect behind massive wildfires in southern California, a standoff at the Hoover Dam, threats against Stormy Daniels’ attorney, and criminal trespassing. NBC News has traced the origins of QAnon back to three people.