Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He's Stuck

| Sep. 21, 2022

He's grasping at straws, not solidifying his political base.

For a man who believes in nothing, has no coherent ideology or value system except his own continuing relevance, obsesses over conspiracies, and subsists on grievance and anger, Donald Trump took a long time to fully embrace QAnon. For some time, the former president has been flirting with the cult—which believes, among other preposterous things, that Democrats are part of a global child-sex-trafficking ring that Trump will ultimately defeat. But lately, that courtship has turned into a consummated marriage, as Trump incorporated QAnon tropes into an Ohio rally and started spreading them on his social-media service.

This has understandably provoked a lot of hand-wringing from Democrats and disillusioned former Republicans, who rightly fear that Trump will incite QAnon supporters to violence. But the outrage from respectable quarters matters far less to the former president than his own political plight. Trump, who had previously maintained at least a little distance from QAnon, is only signing on now because he's flailing.

Trump and many of his aides face major legal problems. The January 6 hearings and revelations that he was holding classified documents at his residence in Mar-a-Lago have helped drive his favorability rating to its lowest point in a year and a half. Even if he manages to fire up some supporters by explicitly endorsing QAnon, he is likely to alienate many more Americans for whom the cult's ideas seem creepy and off-putting.

Nevertheless, early last week, on his social-media platform, Truth Social, Trump posted a picture of himself with a QAnon lapel pin and the slogan "The Storm is Coming"—words that describe the destruction of his enemies and perhaps even the live televising of their execution. This past weekend, at a rally in Ohio, Trump played music that mirrored a QAnon anthem, apparently prompting the crowd to respond with a Nazi-like salute....

  – Via The Atlantic.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Kayyem, Juliette.“Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He's Stuck.” The Atlantic, September 21, 2022.

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