Eric Trump, President Trump’s middle son and a campaign surrogate, promoted QAnon–whose followers the FBI has deemed “conspiracy theory-driven domestic terrorists”—in an Instagram post ahead of the president’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, providing a massive platform for the right-wing conspiracy for about two hours to his 1.5 million followers.
The post showed an American flag with the message, “Who’s ready for the Trump Rally tonight?” and the letter “Q,” the symbol for the conspiracy theory.
At the bottom of the photo was an acronym for the slogan of the conspiracy theory followers: “Where We Go One, We Go All.”
With the post, Trump was promoting his father’s Tulsa, Oklahoma rally on Saturday, the first rally the president has held since the pandemic began and a source of controversy ever since it was announced: “TULSA OKLAHOMA HERE WE COME!!!” Eric Trump’s caption read.
Eric Trump has never publicly endorsed the theory and it’s not clear the president’s son was explicitly trying to lend credence to QAnon with his post on Saturday, though he and his brother, Donald Trump Jr., frequently use their Instagram accounts to post political memes that attack their father’s opponents and amplify the president’s message.
President Trump himself often uses his own Twitter account to promote fringe accounts online, and while he has also never explicitly endorsed the QAnon theory, he has retweeted QAnon supporters several times and multiple tweets with QAnon messages.
QAnon first emerged on the message board 4chan in 2017 and quickly gained a foothold among right-wing conspiracy circles online. The conspiracy theory has also ramped up during the coronavirus pandemic, promoting skepticism at the government response to the pandemic and making claims like saying Dr. Anthony Fauci is a “deep state” actor. The conspiracy theory generally cites a New World Order acting against Trump and aiming to erase traditional western values. That New World Order is backed by a global cabal of child sex traffickers, QAnon claims, made up of liberal Hollywood actors and Democratic Party figures like Hillary Clinton and George Soros, among others. An FBI memo written last year warned that the agency considered QAnon and its followers “conspiracy theory-driven domestic terrorists.”
According to Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group, there are 51 candidates running for Congress who have promoted the messages of “Q,” and one appears to have a straightforward path to winning a U.S. Congressional seat from a district in Georgia this year.
A QAnon Follower May Win This U.S. Congressional Seat (Forbes)
Donald Trump Jr. Smears Biden With Baseless Instagram Post (New York Times)
QAnon marches toward the halls of Congress (Politico)
G.O.P. Voters Back QAnon Conspiracy Promoter for U.S. Senate (New York Times)