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Hawaii GOP chairwoman resigns after party's controversial QAnon tweets

Hawaii GOP chairwoman resigns after party's controversial QAnon tweets
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The chairwoman of Hawaii's Republican Party has resigned after a senior official used the organization's official Twitter account to send out controversial tweets about QAnon supporters.

Shirlene Ostrov resigned, effective Sunday, after four years as chairwoman, according to a statement.

The party said that Ostrov “chose to accept responsibility for several unauthorized tweets that garnered national and international criticism.”

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The state party faced widespread backlash late last month after the official @GOPHawaii Twitter account posted tweets defending supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Edwin Boyette, the state party's vice chairman of communications, shared a since-deleted thread 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.

Although Boyette stepped down from his position on Jan. 24, Ostrov “thought she should also resign to allow the party to recover from the controversy and focus on finding excellent candidates and fighting for policies that improve the quality of life for Hawaii’s hardworking families.”

Ostrov said the party has been “redefining itself” since President Biden was inaugurated.

“We have a stark but important choice to make: either we rededicate ourselves to our Constitution and continue to defend and uphold our best American institutions and traditions or we get distracted by conspiracy theories and social media wars,” the statement quoted her as saying.

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Ostrov initially defended the tweets in a statement to the local outlet KITV 4, 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.” 

She later issued a statement taking responsibility for remarks made by Boyette.

"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 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.

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