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Donald Trump is embracing QAnon more openly than ever before: ‘It’s obviously concerning’

A QAnon expert talks about why and how the ex-president is amplifying the violent conspiracy movement.

With weeks to go before a consequential midterm, Trump’s choice to bear-hug an extreme, conspiracy-rich, violence-tinged movement stands in contrast with political conventional wisdom, which argues for embracing more moderate messages that hold appeal for undecided and independent voters.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

But what is notable now is that we have seen some more explicit amplifications of QAnon-related figures or content in recent months. We’ve seen him sometimes amplifying accounts that have a “Q” in the profile image. He even amplified an account called “Where We Go 1 We Go All” multiple times.

It’s important to note that his platform [Truth Social] has actively appealed to QAnon supporters. I don’t think you can separate that from this. Truth Social’s leadership has openly pandered to QAnon supporters. It has openly said that QAnon supporters are a part of its business model. Kash Patel, who had been on its board, said that on a QAnon-supporting show. QAnon content, and QAnon figures, are a significant part of what Truth Social is — and what they appeal to, essentially.

Some of them are excited about this. I saw multiple accounts on Saturday night hyping, again, that that song was played.

We obviously know that last month there was the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. And he’s been dealing with some potential legal issues with that. I think what the QAnon accounts do, at least on the Truth Social amplification part of it, is that they provide him validation, reassurance, good feelings. They’re giving him praise. I think he’s looking for that. He’s like the hero of the story of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

I should also note that the QAnon community has also in the past been positive about authoritarian countries and authoritarian events. They openly praised the coup in Myanmar last year. When the Russian invasion [of Ukraine] started, they sided with Russia and praised Putin.

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