Donald Trump has been promoting QAnon conspiracy theories on his Truth Social platform, and researchers say that's a sign that he's stressed out.
The former president faces multiple criminal and civil investigations, including a two-pronged probe of his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection and a Department of Justice inquiry over his apparent theft of classified materials, and he has stepped up his amplification of QAnon content online since the FBI searched his home at Mar-A-Lago, reported The Daily Beast.
“There always seems to be a correlation between the amount of times Trump is amplifying QAnon accounts and periods where I’d say he’s under stress,” said Media Matters senior researcher Alex Kaplan. “QAnon accounts are usually ones that are giving him praise and reassurances, which I’m sure he likes.”
Truth Social has verified 47 QAnon accounts who each have more than 10,000 followers, and Trump has used his own account to boost at least 50 different accounts that support the right-wing conspiracy theory, which Kaplan said “plays a significant role in Truth Social’s ecosystem.”
The ex-president seems to appreciate the slavish devotion those conspiracists have toward him, and adherents were encouraged by his repeated sharing of their content, which they're "taking as a sign" that their predictions would soon come true and Trump would round up and punish his enemies -- who they believe to be satanic pedophiles who secretly control the world.
The movement had been splintered and demoralized by Trump's election loss and the crackdown by other social media companies on their content, but adherents remain a violent threat, according to law enforcement, and have become increasingly involved in politics at all levels.
"Some have set their gazes above their keyboards, choosing to run for office or involve themselves in a nationwide election denialist movement that has captured the loyalty of nearly half of Republican nominees on the ballot this fall," wrote Jared Holt, a senior research manager at Institute for Strategic Dialogue. "One influencer explicitly hopes to influence elections this year."
Trump as president tried to keep a distance between himself and some of his most rabid followers, although he has long refused to disavow the conspiracy theory, but Truth Social executives have actively courted that right-wing community to boost user numbers and engagement on their website.
"Trump’s business partners welcomed them onto his platform, and it's apparent that he likes what he sees," Holt wrote.
"It’s beyond time to retire whatever plausible deniability may have been afforded to Trump’s fondness for his most conspiratorial supporters," Holt added. "It’s right in front of our faces, in a place called Truth."
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