State Watch

Hawaii GOP official resigns over now-deleted tweet defending QAnon supporters


An official with the Hawaii Republican Party resigned on Sunday, taking responsibility for highly criticized tweets defending supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Edwin Boyette, the vice chair of communications, issued a resignation letter on his personal Facebook page to state GOP Chairwoman Shirlene Ostrov.

“Discussion of some topics is ill suited to the forums of social media, and regardless of intent  only serves to increase conflict and discord,” Boyette wrote. “The discussion of the Q-Conspiracy was an error of judgement, and should not reflect upon the leadership or the members of the Republican Party of Hawaii. The responsibility for that discussion and that error is mine and and mine alone.”

Boyette’s exit comes after the official Hawaii GOP Twitter account shared a since-deleted thread on Saturday that read: “We should make it abundantly clear the people who subscribed to the Q fiction, were largely motivated by a sincere and deep love for America. Patriotism and love of County should never be ridiculed.”

The tweets also called QAnon believers “patriots,” while some accused the media of creating a “hyperbolic” narrative.

“What is the truth? There are highly networked groups of people with specific agendas. Factions and individuals within Government do abuse power  Peter Strozk, Steele Dossier, James Comey, FISA courts, and on,” one tweet read, referencing examples of QAnon beliefs. “Powerful people do engage in abusive or predatory behavior.”

The QAnon conspiracy theory gained momentum amid supporters of former President Trump during his time in office, pushing baseless claims that he was working to expose elites in Democratic politics and institutions running underground child trafficking rings.  

According to KITV 4, the original post became flooded with comments criticizing the Hawaii GOP for supporting QAnon defenders.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii issued a statement in response to the tweets, saying, “There is nothing patriotic in defending Q-Anon adherents. There is noting honorable in defending Proud Boy antics.”

“We never thought we’d have to say it, but here we are…” the group wrote on Twitter. 

Ostrov initially defended the tweets from Boyette in a statement to the local outlet, saying “the thread clearly debunks the ‘Q’ phenomena as fiction” and that it “explains the creators of the Q fiction exploited the patriotism and passion of their followers for greed and attention.” 

In a statement released on Monday night, Ostrov said she accepts full responsibility for Boyette’s “unauthorized” tweets. 

“Our Party believes in free speech, but it is a responsibility that each of us must carry in order to maintain a good and just society,” she said. “Promoting content for the purpose of shock value does not help us to build a more perfect union, nor does it help a divided nation heal.”

She added that she hopes Hawaii GOP and its communications moving forward “accurately reflect the values that we stand for as a Country and as the Aloha State.” 

The now-deleted tweets followed the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer.

Social media accounts associated with QAnon and other far-right internet groups reportedly organized the violence online days in advance.

QAnon supporters were among those in the crowd that stormed the building during the insurrection, which came as Congress was meeting to certify the results of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.

An FBI document unveiled last year identified QAnon as a potential domestic terrorism threat

Avril Haines, Biden’s director of national intelligence, vowed during her confirmation hearing to produce a public assessment of threats posed by proponents of the far-right conspiracy theory.

– Updated Jan. 26 at 6:30 a.m. 

Tags Alt-right Avril Haines Capital riot Capitol breach Conspiracy theory domestic terrorism Donald Trump Edwin Boyette James Comey QAnon

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