As the U.S. Capitol was being attacked on Jan. 6, Mike Rothschild was finishing up his book "The Storm is Upon Us," his book about the QAnon conspiracy cult. Speaking to VICE News, Rothschild said that the events of Jan. 6 were a culmination of lies and conspiracy theories that had been spreading online since Donald Trump's surge to the presidency.
"Once I realized what was going on and how connected to QAnon [the Capitol riot] was, I realized I had to throw out the entire introduction I'd already written and completely rewrite the first chapter," Rothschild said.
"The central thing to understand about QAnon is that the QAnon that existed from October 2017 to January 2021 is done," Rothschild said. "There is no storm, there's not going to be a great awakening, Joe Biden is not going to enact a purge of the deep state. That's over. There's no more Q drops, you know that most of the big Q promoters have been run off of popular social media. So all of that is done."
But despite claims of the decline of QAnon's influence, Rothschild says the conspiracy theory's adherents "are still hanging on to this idea of this great change event, making everything better."
"It's just that what that event is has changed. For three-and-a-half-years, it was Donald Trump is going to tweet that the storm is upon us, the indictments are going to be unsealed, the arrests are going to happen, the worst people are going to be hanged on TV or whatever, and everything's going to be great," he said.
According to Rothschild, the true threat of QAnon is how it's moved from a fringe movement to an increasingly mainstream presence in American politics.
"You have a major party in this country where the majority of the people who are in this party do not think that the President was legitimately elected," he said.
"I'm very concerned about true believers, getting to a point where they realize that Donald Trump is not going to be the president. And they're going to take it out on somebody."
Read the full interview over at VICE News.