Donald Trump is out of office and at least 13 QAnon believers have been arrested following their planned attack on the U.S. Capitol. The so-called “Great Awakening” on Inauguration Day never happened, and by all accounts, QAnon should probably just take a beat. But rest assured, the pro-Trump conspiracy theories are alive and well.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Capitol Police Department announced that it was preparing for “a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday.” Sources speculate that this militia group is QAnon, an extremist offshoot that believes Trump will be brought back to power on March 4.
According to the unfounded QAnon theory, the U.S. is currently controlled by a satanic cult of political elites who are sex traffickers, pedophiles, and cannibals. Followers consider all presidents since Ulysses S. Grant (and all acts and amendments passed since 1871) illegitimate, and view Trump as a savior destined to take down the Democratic child-trafficking ring “in control” of the U.S. government. They believed that, before President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Trump would declare martial law and arrest his political adversaries — including Biden — in the name of the “Great Awakening.”
Needless to say, this did not happen, but QAnon supporters persisted. Since Biden took office, they’ve pinned their hopes on March 4 — the day U.S. presidents were inaugurated prior to the ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933. Following Q logic, March 4 is still the real Inauguration Day, Biden was sworn in as an illegitimate president in January, and Trump will become the 19th president of the U.S. on Thursday.
Some QAnon influencers have denounced this theory, and written on message boards and in Facebook groups that stories about March 4 are being planted in an attempt to delegitimize or frame QAnon supporters. “Caution. All the irresponsible talk about March 4th is very likely another setup to target members of ‘Q community’ as extremist,” one influencer reportedly wrote, according to a screenshot shared on Twitter. “Spread the word and do NOT go to any big events that day.”
But according to other screenshots obtained by the BBC, other QAnon supporters are “packed and ready for civil war.” On the encrypted messenger app Telegram, one user wrote, “March 4 better yield results or some of us are going rogue.”
Either way, security officials wrote that they had “obtained intelligence” leading them to believe the Capitol could be at risk. In response, the police are amping up security measures, and the House of Representatives will not meet on Thursday. “We are taking the intelligence seriously,” the Capitol Police Department wrote. “Due to the sensitive nature of this information, we cannot provide additional details at this time.”
Trump has not directly promoted the conspiracy theory, but he has refused to disavow it several times. In August, he said that he didn’t know much about the far-right group, but understood that “they like me very much,” which he appreciated. When he was briefed on the theory, he said, “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it,” which is a very reassuring, normal response to baseless claims that the U.S. has been controlled by a satanic cult for centuries. If all goes as planned, Trump will “save the world” by regaining power on Thursday. But don’t hold your breath.