Over the weekend, Donald Trump went to Ohio to speak out for Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance. What has left political analysts and elected officials spinning is that Trump has gone beyond flirting with the QAnon cult, and went what some people are describing as full "Q"
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace began Monday's "Deadline White House" saying that Trump is fully “tangled up in the sheets" of the conspiracy group. For the past few weeks, Trump has been sharing several QAnon memes, including one popular meme saying "The Storm is Coming." In QAnon world, "the storm" is the conspiracy that Trump will be placed back into the presidency and prosecute his opponents.
At the rally on Saturday, Trump spoke over a soundtrack that played QAnon "flavored songs," described The Philadelphia Inquirer. It resulted in many members of the crowd raising a single finger into the air, an apparent salute for the QAnon slogan "where we go one, we go all."
Speaking to Wallace was former assistant director for the FBI's counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, who explained that Trump knows very well what QAnon is and he knows what he's doing by promoting it.
"It's like a moth to the flame, and the thing is, he knows that he's increasingly cornered," explained Figliuzzi. "He's in trouble on so many legal fronts, even criminal fronts now, that this is kind of the almost last act of a desperate man. And you can look at this and go, you know, Frank, be careful because that Youngstown, Ohio, rally was actually sparsely attended. The camera shots look great, people are stacked up behind him and right in front of him, but largely there was nobody in that arena. You can see this isn't that big of a threat."
The Trump rally was competing with the Ohio State-Toledo football game.
"I say, yeah, I got you on the attendance issue, but what is extremely dangerous based on past histories of cults is that as they come near to the end, as the leader is threatened, they get more and more dangerous and they do something cult experts call forcing the end," the counterterrorism expert explained. "Either the leader calls for the violence or the leaders is taken out, the members take a step up and force the ending, whatever that could be. That's what concerns me. We've learned from Jan. 6th that it only takes a small number of people to do that."
Wallace noted FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying to the House that there is a significant threat from anti-government domestic groups, which includes people from QAnon to militia groups.
Last week, Trump spoke with Hugh Hewitt and told law enforcement that they need to be on alert because his people are "going to be mad, mad, mad."
"It doesn't take a lot of cult members when incited by Donald Trump and warned publicly on the Hugh Hewitt radio show to carry out the violence he's warned about," Wallace explained, citing a terrorism expert who spoke out on CBS News.
Speaking to "Face the Nation," the University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape explained that looking at the percentage of people willing to stage a violent uprising is the equivalent of 13 million Americans. The percentage may be small, but the numbers are horrifying.
"The problem that we face is that over and over in [truths] by the former president, he is deliberately stoking not just the fires of anger getting him political support but the fires that are leading to that violent — the equivalent of 13 million," said Pape. "And that is really the heart of our problem that we face as a threat to democracy because if it's just a political threat, well, then we can have elections, But once it's not just denying an election but using violence as the response to an election denial, now we're in a new game."
Wallace explained that experts make it clear that this is all part of the plan and it has happened over and over in societies across the world and throughout history.
"It just hasn't happened here in a really long time, but the denial of the election result as a political maneuver comes first, and what it proceeds is violence," she said.
"So there's incremental steps that aren't even moving fast enough," said Figliuzzi. He has long noted that there is no law on the books that specifically deals with domestic terrorism.
"There's a penetration strategy, infiltration of state, local, county election officials, even add now that to over 100 -- something like 119 people running for office throughout the country that are election deniers," said Figliuzzi. "Get them in the House, the Senate, get them in key positions in key swing states as election officials and now you've got a recipe where we may not even be able to seek a legitimately elected next president of the United States because that's the degree of infiltration that's gone on here. And that's a recipe for violence, even as early as the midterms that could happen."
Going back to his training in international terrorism, he said that it's the combination of religion and cult status that leads people to martyr themselves.
Trump's embrace of QAnon is 'the last act of a desperate man': ex-FBI predicts 'cults' are coming youtu.be
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