QAnon followers struggle to explain Biden inauguration
President Biden’s swearing-in as the nation’s 46th president has punctured the hopes of some QAnon followers who pushed the conspiracy theory that claimed former President Trump would remain in office and arrest top Democrats on Wednesday.
Users across multiple forums and chat rooms spent the morning spinning up new theories about how Jan. 20, dubbed the “Great Awakening” by supporters, would still turn out as the theory had predicted.
As Trump left the White House for a final time, one post shared on a forum backing the president suggested that he was getting into Air Force One for his own safety — instead of to leave for Florida for his first post-presidency travel.
A user on another forum dedicated to the “awakening” claimed that the 17 flags onstage as Trump gave his farewell were a coded message, since “Q” — the mysterious figure who posts cryptic messages that serve as the theory’s foundation — is the 17th letter of the alphabet.
“I don’t know how many signs has to be given to us before we ‘trust the plan,’ ” another user commented.
But as Biden’s inauguration continued without incident, the realization that the theory was failing to come to fruition began to set in for some of QAnon’s most ardent supporters.
Ron Watkins, a former administrator of 8kun, wrote on Telegram that “we gave it our all.”
“Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able,” he wrote to the 120,000 users subscribed to his channel.
Watkins’s former platform hosts posts by “Q,” the anonymous figure behind the theory.
Another large QAnon group on Telegram closed commenting to give users “a breather” after Biden’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.
“Q was a LARP the entire f—ing time,” one forum user wrote moments after the inauguration, referring to live-action role playing games.
One 8kun user lamented that they “thought things would finally change and the deep state would be exposed” on Wednesday.
“Please, I just can’t anymore,” they added.
A large swath of QAnon followers still appeared to be on board with the theory despite Biden’s inauguration, and the community has continued to grow despite previous predictions not coming to fruition.
One of the top posts on a popular forum spun the narrative that a “Q drop” from October predicted that the transfer of power had to go through for Trump’s supposed plan to purge alleged child sex traffickers from government to be successful.
Many QAnon followers have also celebrated reports that Trump is considering launching a political party, dubbed the “Patriot Party,” as an alternative to the GOP.
More violent right-wing groups are also already strategizing how to convert disillusioned QAnon followers to their ranks.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.