QAnon followers often claim that they value “research.” But their method of interpreting current events is really more akin to improv. Their theories are not built by referencing credible, independently verifiable sources, but rather by taking Q drops or existing speculation and building upon it with even more speculation.
Here we observe two de facto priests of QAnon debating the proper exegesis of today’s holy Q drop. pic.twitter.com/yfJyVwK4cJ
— Travis View (@travis_view) April 12, 2019
People who have taken an improv class may recognize that this adheres to the classic improvisation rule of thumb: “Yes, and.” Improvisors are advised to never reject or negate ideas from fellow performers. But rather, they should accept ideas, no matter how odd or wacky, and build upon them. That’s a good way to build an entertaining scene on the fly. But it’s a terrible way to actually understand what’s happening in the world.
But this kind of conspiracy theory improv does serve one important purpose: it allows Q followers to persist in their belief even in the face of direct disconfirmation. Which explains why QAnon will persist even after the release of the redacted Mueller report.
QAnon Celebrates The Release Of The Mueller Report
One might suspect that the QAnon community would be troubled by the Mueller report’s findings. It contradicts many already-debunked conspiracy theories that Q and large segments of the QAnon community promoted.
For example, Q references Seth Rich in over a dozen Q drops. These posts allude to the false conspiracy theory that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was the source of the DNC emails that were published by Wikileaks, when in fact the emails were obtained by Russian hackers, according to Mueller indictments.
The Mueller report contradicts the already-debunked Seth Rich conspiracy theory directly. In reference to statements made by Julian Assange and Wikileaks, the report says, “The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails.”
If you ever believed the #SethRich conspiracy theory, congratulations, you got played. Looking forward to reading all the apologizes from various conservative media outlets and Twitter “journalists” who helped spread that #fakenews pic.twitter.com/1Ufz8gHLja
— K.Johnston (@rkoaej5) April 18, 2019
Seth Rich’s brother, Aaron Rich, released a statement after the release of the Mueller report lambasting people who spread the Seth Rich hoax.
New: Seth Rich’s brother, Aaron Rich, releases statement after Mueller findings: “I hope that the people who pushed, fueled, spread, ran headlines, articles, interviews, talk and opinion shows…will take responsibility for the unimaginable pain they have caused us.” pic.twitter.com/88HfFGlN2z
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 19, 2019
The Mueller Report also contradicted the QAnon belief that Trump was only pretending to hate Jeff Sessions. Several Q drops implored QAnon to “Trust sessions.” They rationalized away insults that Trump directed at Sessions as mere Kayfaybe.
However, after Trump learned about the special counsel, the report states that Trump told Sessions, “How could you let this happen, Jeff?” The report also states that Trump told Sessions something akin to “you were supposed to protect me.”
Page 290: Upon learning of Special Counsel Mueller’s appointment, President Trump said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f***ed,” according to notes from then-AG Sessions’ chief of staff.https://t.co/11xVvA9rtp pic.twitter.com/pMCAA6FmC1
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 18, 2019
Some especially deranged corners of QAnon even held to the absurd and incoherent theory that Mueller was secretly investigating Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.
QAnon galaxy brain take: “Ackshually, Democrats are trying to smear Robert Mueller with false allegations because Mueller is secretly investigating Clinton.”
Most QAnon people stopped thinking Mueller is a “White Hat” in their world months ago, but some still think so. pic.twitter.com/ZZgis8rSAF
— Travis View (@travis_view) October 30, 2018
The Mueller report’s contradictions of QAnon narratives even caused forceful QAnon critic Sebastion Gorka to declare “As of this morning: Q and QAnon are dead.”
As of this morning:
Q and QAnon are dead.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) April 18, 2019
But rather than considering the Mueller report a bust for QAnon, many in the community believe it’s merely a stepping stone. After the Mueller report’s release, they imagine declassified FISA documents that authorized the surveillance of Carter Page will reveal serious malfeasance from the FBI. After that, a DOJ Inspector General report will reveal even more wrongdoing. And this will be followed by “Truth” and “Justice.” The specific events they imagine will unfold are unclear, but they undoubtedly imagine it’s somehow related to the long-promised mass arrests and military tribunals of “deep state” enemies.
Don’t worry Chucky… the truth is coming.
MUELLER >(you are here) DECLAS > OIG > TRUTH > JUSTICE
Nothing can stop what is coming.
— Praying Medic (@prayingmedic) April 18, 2019
This is a continuation of the attitude that has kept QAnon followers going after a year and half of no results: the conviction that the true reveal is always somewhere around the next corner. They’re always convinced that some document, some testimony, or some investigation will finally blow the lid off of everything, and their theories will finally be validated. Of course, that elusive vindication is eternally in the near future in QAnon world.
The biggest issue many within the QAnon community had with the report is the claim that Trump exclaimed “Oh my God this terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.” Many assumed that this account had to be false, or that Trump was being sarcastic.
QAnon people are having a hard time believing that Trump said “I’m fucked” after learning about the Special Counsel. They either deny he said it or suggest he was joking.
It doesn’t mesh with their vision of Trump: always in control and trusting “the plan.” pic.twitter.com/pG8XVMBchk
— Travis View (@travis_view) April 18, 2019
The QAnon community can shake off logical incoherence fairly easily. In fact, they’re experienced at it. However, they recoil at the idea that Trump expressed weakness. The idea that trouble would feel despairing or express weakness cuts to a core QAnon conviction: that Trump is perfectly in control, there is a grand “plan” to restore the country, and it isn’t possible for Trump to do anything besides succeed.
QAnon Accounts Spread Disinformation About The Notre Dame Fire
The best time to spread conspiracy theories is during a dramatic crisis. The many unknowns in reporting allow conspiratorial people to fill in the gaps with their own ideas. QAnon followers exploited the April 15th Notre Dame fire to the best of their ability, pushing several absurd conspiracy theories as accurate information about the incident trickled in.
Notre Dame is burning to the ground. But don’t worry, QAnon has already cracked it wide open as a deep state/Michelle Obama/Macron false flag distraction from child sacrifice and Brexit.
As if it could be anything else. pic.twitter.com/2a5a3LHJ3X
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) April 15, 2019
QAnon Follower Runs For Congress In Florida
Matthew Lusk, a Florida bookseller, launched his House campaign for Florida’s 5th congressional district last month. He is the first QAnon follower to run for federal office. In an interview for Floridapolitics.com, the longshot candidate says “I belong to no secret societies or clubs, Q is one of my issues because it’s definitely a leak from high places. I follow Q, but I don’t know who or what Q is.”
Lusk is an unconventional Republican candidate for many reasons. On his website, he advocates for the elimination of alimony, the federal decriminalization of cocaine, and reparations for people who are negatively affected by the legacy of slavery in the U.S. Lusk is running unopposed for the Republican primary, but will have to overcome a steep road to defeat the Democratic incumbent Congressman Al Lawson.
Lusk’s interview with Floridapolitics.com is filled with quotes that show that he is bringing a unique style of rhetoric and politics to his race:
“I can’t imagine the globalist deep-state not putting up a challenger in the primary, I can’t wait to grind them into sawdust. The primary will be a bigger swordfight but I don’t see a problem overcoming either.”
“I’m a Dapper Dan Man, I don’t like Palm-Ade, and I’m NOT going to ride a bicycle to a motorcycle race. I consider Libertarians and Reformers to be conservative.”
“You’ll see I have knowledge, once I flesh out Lusk2020.com. One reason why the devil hates Christians so much is because true believers have guts. The only thing to fear is God. One really has to risk their earthly life to make a change in today’s political sphere.”
“Some of my issues have gotten people ‘Arkancided,’ so just for the record: I’m not suicidal or accident prone.”
Interestingly, Florida has always been a hotspot for QAnon activity. Q broke into mainstream awareness partly due to a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida.
Someone unfurled a "Do It Q WWG1WGA" sign for runners at the Never Quit 5K/10K race in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Recall: The first QAnon congressional candidate is in Florida and Q broke into mainstream awareness at a Tampa Trump rally. So the Sunshine State may be Q central. pic.twitter.com/Uj1M6WvXso
— Travis View (@travis_view) April 15, 2019