The former president appeared at his first rally of 2022 on Saturday, in Florence, Arizona, but some of his QAnon supporters are claiming that it wasn’t actually him, and instead was a body double.
The “Save America” event has been the subject of unusual myths on social media, including the theory that the man speaking at the rally, Donald Trump, was a stand-in a “body doubly” or even John F Kennedy in a Donald Trump costume.
Other baseless assertions at the rally include Mr Trump repeating the claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He also covered some of his favourite themes about “extremist” Democrats, the “fake news” media, and said “big tech” was biased.
Mr Trump suggested he would run for president again in 202. “In 2024, we are going to take back the White House. We’re going to stage a comeback the likes of which nobody has ever seen,” he said.
Ahead of the rally, Dallas QAnon influencerMichael Protzman (also known as Negative48) promised big revelations. “It wasn’t Trump,” he allegedly said about the event in a video recording posted by a QAnon follower.
“When he came out … I instantly felt it was not him,” said one person on the encrypted channel Telegram, reported Newsweek.
“I kept trying to convince myself that it was. He was not talking with his hands like he normally does.
“He didn’t pause and inhaled a lot. He sounded nervous in the beginning. [His] side profile looked different. [His] voice was a little deeper.”
There were several similar conversations between people, certain posts had been viewed more than 10,000 times on the platform, noted Newsweek.
Mr Protzman and other QAnon believers also theorised that it could be JFK in costume. “Trump rally watchers: It appears President JFK will be President Trump tonight. I’m just saying … Enjoy the show,” said one user, apparently forgetting that John F Kennedy has been dead for sometime.
QAnon promoter and Republican Congressional candidate Ron Watkins appeared to debunk the body double and JFK claims.
“Well, I was at the rally and I saw Trump and it’s not a body double that was actually him,” he supposedly said in an audio clip posted by a QAnon follower.
As conspiracy theories continue, some “Q” followers are growing “tired of it,” remarked one Trump supporter named Donny Warren, who wrote an open letter to the former president on a QAnon Telegram account.
“For months I have anticipated each day with excitement knowing that I was watching my president and his crews of patriots take back our country and our freedom,” said Mr Warren. “I am losing that excitement now. This is starting to get very old.”
A report from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Lab released last year concluded that QAnon-related content on social media platforms has decreased after platforms tightened their content policies following the insurrection at the US Capitol. Social media companies have since banned thousands of users from spreading harmful misinformation.
Despite QAnon followers looking to less-mainstream platforms – like Parler, Gab and Telegram – conspiracy theories have been diluted.
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