Trump encouraging supporters to see him as 'messiah-like' figure: columnist
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Former President Donald Trump's relationship with QAnon and the far-right has become closer than perhaps ever before, and a new op-ed published Tuesday said that the former president is encouraging his followers to see him as a "messiah-like figure."

The op-ed, published on MSNBC by opinion columnist Zeeshan Aleem, noted that Trump "pivoting from keeping a calculated distance from QAnon conspiracy theory adherents to openly embracing them." Aleem added, "There’s a clear political motive behind it. Trump is trying to mobilize supporters who are most likely to do illicit, violent things to help return him to office."

This is not the first time, the column argues, that Trump has attempted to strengthen his ties with QAnon - a group that The Guardian notes has been steadily gaining traction since Trump left office. The former president has been seen in recent weeks appealing to the group by, among other things, posting a picture on his Truth Social platform wearing a 'Q' lapel pin. In addition, the picture was overlaid with the text "The Storm Is Coming" and "WWG1WGA" - the latter an acronym for a common QAnon phrase, "Where We Go One, We Go All."

According to the Associated Press, the 'storm' is a reference to a QAnon conspiracy theory that says Trump will be reinstated as president - despite the fact that he lost the 2020 election by more than seven million votes. The AP said that the 'storm' theory also believes that, once Trump is back in power, "his opponents will be tried, and potentially executed, on live television.”

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This theory is related to the larger QAnon conspiracy, which claims, with no evidence, that Trump is secretly working to uncover a cabal of satanic, pedophile Democrats that operates in the shadows.

Whether or not Trump himself actually believes in these QAnon theories is hard to say. However, the op-ed noted that the 'Q' picture is just the latest in a number of social media posts that he has made referencing the group. He has also re-posted a number of QAnon supporters on his own Truth Social account.

This all came to a head at a recent rally in Youngstown, Ohio, where Trump was introduced to the crowd with a song that bore striking similarities to a QAnon song called 'Wwg1wga.'

The op-ed argues, then, that with Trump's enhanced usage of the QAnon platform, "it seems likely that Trump recognizes that QAnon followers represent his best bet at forming a militant vanguard for his ever-increasingly authoritarian political movement," especially given that numerous QAnon followers have already committed violence and were heavily involved in the January 6 insurrection.

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