QAnon followers bizarrely celebrate Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis

Accounts dedicated to conspiracy theory have been banned on Facebook and Twitter

James Crump@thejamescrump
Friday 02 October 2020 20:43
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A woman holds up a QAnon sign to the media as attendees wait for President Donald Trump to speak at a campaign rally
A woman holds up a QAnon sign to the media as attendees wait for President Donald Trump to speak at a campaign rally

Followers of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory have reportedly celebrated the news that Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus.

On Thursday evening, Mr Trump announced that he and the US first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19, following the confirmation that his senior counselor Hope Hicks had contracted the virus.

After his diagnosis was announced, president Trump tweeted: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

On Friday morning, followers of the conspiracy theory QAnon reacted with celebration to the announcement on “free speech” site Parler, according to NBC News.

The QAnon movement, whose followers claim a deep state is plotting against president Donald Trump, has been identified by the FBI as an extremist group and accounts dedicated to it have been banned by both Facebook and Twitter.

Followers of the conspiracy theory also claim that Mr Trump is leading the fight against a deep-state cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles, partly run by the Democratic Party, who are involved in a global child sex trafficking ring.

On QAnon forums overnight, people claimed that the president’s diagnosis is part of a plan to keep him isolated, while violent action is taken against members of the cabal, which is an event known by followers of the movement as “The Storm”.

The followers believe that during The Storm thousands of members of the cabal will be arrested and possibly sent to Guantanamo Bay, while the US military takes control of the country.

NBC reported that well known figures on QAnon forums reacted to the announcement by attempting to “decode” Mr Trump’s statement for clues of what they believe is to come.

Some of the figures came to the conclusion that Mr Trump was secretly signalling with his statement that he is stepping away from the public eye in anticipation of The Storm, according to Business Insider.

Other followers then reportedly reacted in celebration to the news, as they believed that The Storm, which has been baselessly rumoured about on QAnon forums for more than three years, is imminent.

However the official “Q” account, which started the conspiracy in 2017 and claims to be a government insider leaking information about Mr Trump’s plans, has not posted since the president's announcement.

Some critics of the president also floated around the idea that Mr Trump is lying about his Covid-19 diagnosis in order to gain sympathy from the electorate, as nationwide polls show him far behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

While others, including author Steven Beschloss, said that Mr Trump’s numerous lies while president have fostered an environment of scepticism among US citizens.

Mr Beschloss tweeted: “I am not entertaining conspiracy theories, not about Trump’s diagnosis, QAnon or otherwise.

“But Trump is a pathological liar, we never got the truth of why he went to Walter Reed months ago nor ever about his actual physical health. It’s understandable people feel skeptical.”

There is no evidence to suggest that Mr Trump is lying about his coronavirus diagnosis, and the QAnon conspiracy theory is not rooted in fact.

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