On Saturday, Eric Trump made one of his most overt references to the QAnon conspiracy theory yet while promoting the president's campaign rally that night. President Donald Trump spoke in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend at his first rally since the coronavirus pandemic hit. One of his sons implied that the mysterious online figure "Q" would have something to do with the event.
Eric's post was a graphic consisting of a lightly-colored American flag with words imposed over it reading: "who's ready for the Trump rally tonight?" Beneath that was a translucent yet clearly visible letter Q, while at the bottom was the hashtag "WWG1WGA" — standing for "where we go one, we go all." The hashtag is often used as a rallying cry for QAnon followers — conspiracy theorists who believe that a secret cabal of agents within the U.S. government have been revealing its secrets on anonymous imageboard sites like 4chan. The Trump family has been widely criticized for apparently endorsing the conspiracy theory, and now Eric has apparently joined the cause publicly.
Eric Trump posting a QAnon graphic on Instagram pic.twitter.com/4U7QX1MIlr— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) June 20, 2020
Eric deleted his QAnon post not long after it went up on Saturday, but it still exists in screenshots as well as Internet archives. It picked up several thousand likes before it was taken down, and many comments as well. Many came from fellow conspiracy theorists who were pleased to see Eric openly sharing their beliefs.
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory predicated on the belief in a "deep state" — secret powers within the U.S. government that enforce control on everyone, including elected officials like the president. However, believers in this theory generally believe that President Trump and his administration are working to overcome this deep state and that the mysterious message-board poster "Q" is one of his agents.
The theory has evolved rapidly over the last few years since it first appeared on 4chan. It has spread to other forms of social media and has seeped into mainstream discourse at times, often through the Trump family. The president himself has retweeted QAnon ideas in the past, though due to his liberal use of Twitter he is left with plausible deniability for not understanding what he was sharing.
The QAnon theory has had real-world consequences, too, going back to the 2016 shooting connected with the "PizzaGate" conspiracy. Over the last few years, QAnon has been associated with shootings, harassment campaigns and domestic terrorism, all in the name of exposing "the deep state" and empowering Trump. By openly sharing a QAnon graphic this weekend, Eric raised some eyebrows about his father's rally. So far, no secret QAnon messaging has been detected in the president's speech.