Trump's embrace of QAnon, which he has never disavowed, has ramped up in the last month.
Trump has directly shared QAnon posts to his Truth Social account, which has millions of followers.
QAnon influencers are celebrating his deepening embrace of the baseless far-right conspiracy theory.
Former President Donald Trump reshared a video on his Truth Social platform on Thursday night filled with numerous far-right QAnon conspiracy images, as well as references to satanists and pedophiles. The over a minute-long video contains a series of memes that show Trump alongside QAnon slogans and includes vague threats of retribution against his opponents.
"Every last traitor, liar, leaker and enemy will pay for what they have done to America," reads the text in front of one image of Trump.
Trump's resharing of the video — called a "ReTruth" on the site — is one of the most overt promotions of QAnon that the former president has yet done, and comes less than a week after his appearance at a political rally in Ohio that appeared to further his connection with the conspiracy movement.
Trump's speech at the Ohio rally on Saturday made headlines after a large group of attendants outstretched their arms and pointed their index fingers towards the former President, an action that many online quickly compared to a Nazi salute. Just before the strange display from the crowd, Trump's rally had played a song that was nearly identical to a theme song of the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement and the one finger gestures appeared to be a reaction to hearing the track.
The scene at the Ohio rally was the latest in a series of bizarre actions over the last few weeks that signal Trump's increasing embrace of QAnon, the far-right movement tied to multiple acts of violence that believes he is a savior figure and which he has refused to disown, instead appearing to inch closer to endorsing its wild beliefs.
"Trump has gone as close to full QAnon as we've seen him go to date," Jared Holt, a Senior Research Manager at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, told Insider. "I believe that it would be an error to grant any plausible deniability."
QAnon world interpreted the hand-pointing as a reference to the movement
QAnon adherents often get excited at — and take as proof of the baseless conspiracy theory's legitimacy — any reference or dogwhistle that Trump makes to the far-right movement.
QAnon influencers and fringe forum users celebrated the one-finger gesture, which took place at Republican senate nominee JD Vance's campaign rally in Ohio. As Trump repeated baseless claims about election rigging and grumbled about the press and President Joe Biden, large groups of people could be seen holding single fingers up in quiet reverence.
In the background played a dramatic ambient song that sounded the exact same as a track called "WWG1WGA," which is a longtime QAnon slogan that means "where we go one, we go all." The song appears online under the name Richard Feelgood, a musician who has published multiple tracks with QAnon-themed titles like "Q Send Me" and "I Am Q." A Trump spokesperson previously disputed that they used Feelgood's song, telling Vice that they played William Van De Crommert's "Mirrors," a royalty free ambient track that sounds very similar. (As of Tuesday afternoon, Spotify appears to have restricted Feelgood's "WWG1WGA" so it can be viewed but no longer played.)
Some QAnon adherents took the gesture as a reference to the "one" in "WWG1WGA."
"Holding up one finger to signify unity is the equivalent of throwing holy water on a demon for these Fake News enemies of the people," a QAnon influencer wrote to their over 27,000 followers, writing "WWG1WGA."
A QAnon influencer with over 49,000 followers shared a tweet of a picture of rallygoers pointing their fingers up with the text "WWG1WGA" overlaid on top. "A thing of beauty," the user wrote in the Telegram post, while another QAnon celebrity with over 200,000 Telegram followers shared that post.
"Trump should just walk out on stage, tell everyone's he's Q +, drop the mic, go board his plane and see what happens," the QAnon influencer with over 200,000 followers wrote in a follow-up message. A user on a fringe QAnon forum wrote that seeing people raise their fingers gave them goosebumps.
Although the gesture was mostly cheered in QAnon and far-right circles online, others derided it. The phrase "Heil Trump" trended on Twitter Monday morning with at least 31,000 tweets, and many criticizing Trump while comparing the hand gesture to the Nazi salute.
Trump's embrace of QAnon, which dates back years, has strengthened in the last month
Trump's flirtation with QAnon dates back years, as he regularly boosted QAnon-linked accounts before Twitter banned his account in early 2021. He has consistently refused to condemn or disavow the far-right movement, which has been a prominent presence at his rallies for years. .
But lately Trump has embraced the fringe conspiracy movement with interactions that "are far less deniable than usual," Holt said.
Before the recent JD Vance rally in Ohio, Trump shared multiple overtly QAnon-themed posts on his Truth Social account, which has over four million followers and remains his most active social media account after being kicked off Twitter and Facebook.
One of the images Trump shared on Truth Social, which was reposted on September 12 from a QAnon account, featured the former President wearing a "Q" button and the words "The Storm Is Coming" and "WWG1WGA" — two popular slogans among QAnon adherents. The former refers to the baseless claim that there will be a day when so-called deep state operatives are arrested en masse and Trump ascends to the presidency again.
Trump in late August also shared a now-deleted post that featured a QAnon "drop," which is a coded message made for believers of the conspiracy theory movement to decode. Over 33% of the accounts that Trump has reposted in the last month on the social media platform have also been linked with the conspiracy theory movement, according to the Associated Press.
QAnon world has celebrated Trump's repeated nods
QAnon influencers have lauded Trump's deepening embrace of the baseless conspiracy movement, posting Telegram messages with pictures of Trump's Truth Social reposts and claiming the fictional day of reckoning they call "The Storm" is near.
"Stay comfy because all the comms point to one thing: We are winning," wrote a prominent QAnon promoter with over 200,000 followers the day after Trump's Ohio rally.
"Donald Trump is OPENLY using Q symbology as the Legacy Media melts down!" another QAnon influencer with over 120,000 followers wrote on Telegram Saturday. "AS WORLDS COLLIDE, WE ARE RIDERS ON THE STORM!"
Holt, who called QAnon believers "perhaps the most loyal Trump followers on this planet," said there is still more Trump could do to embrace QAnon — he could parrot QAnon catchphrases and speak on QAnon-linked podcasts. And even if he decides to fully present himself as a QAnon champion, Holt said, it's unlikely that any of Trump's moderate-leaning supporters would abandon him.
"I'd like to think that doing those things would be a form of political suicide, but Trump has been a fixture of modern political discourse for more than six years now," Holt said. "It is genuinely difficult for me to imagine that any Trump fan who has plugged their nose this long would be swayed if Trump leaned further into QAnon."
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