The meme that Trump shared on the Truth Social included an illustration of him wearing a “Q” on his lapel and two QAnon slogans – “The Storm Is Coming” and “WWG1WGA” (Where We Go One, We All Go). A few days later, he held a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, where he gave some of his speech on music that sounded just like a song related to QAnon. And while he was doing so, a group of his supporters in the crowd began to harmoniously head toward the sky.
“As soon as we saw that, we knew we might have a problem,” a Trump aide told CNN. The sources said that the former president’s team spent hours online after the gathering trying to understand what the salute meant and where it came from.
A Trump aide, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity, said some thought the crowd pointing one finger (index finger) toward the sky was in reference to Trump’s “America First” stand. Another said he thought it was referring to “God first,” while others thought it might be a reference to Qunun’s mantra, “Where we go one, we all go.”
Even among the academics and experts who track QAnon and other disinformation online, the answer to what all this means remains unclear; They had never seen such a salutation with one finger before.
But the post was greeted on the Truth Social by followers of conspiracy theorists, who believe in the existence of an evil gang and consider Trump their hero.
“At this point, anyone who denies that Q was a legitimate Trump administration operation is in deep denial,” said a post on the Truth Social account that supports QAnon and has 120,000 followers.
Trump seemed to relate to the QAnon threads in the past. But some aides, who were not authorized to speak publicly, dismissed concerns about their boss’s behavior, attributing it to mindless social media retweets of the “baby boom”.
His team also continued to use a song at recent gatherings after some of his assistants realized they had contacts with QAnon in early August.
Trump aides believe the former president retweeted the meme not because it referenced QAnon, but because it was styled like a “Game of Thrones” poster, noting that it looked like the poster Trump brought to a cabinet meeting as president.
Some experts say what Trump is doing is dangerous. “What we have is a former president, a potential candidate for the presidency of the United States, legitimizing what is essentially a cult,” Greg Airy, a former FBI special agent now with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told CNN Tuesday.
The FBI warned last year of the potential for QAnon to be fueling violence, and some of the people involved in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol were wearing or carrying QAnon paraphernalia.
According to a person close to Trump, the former president has been known to relay quickly to his Truth Social account, often without looking closely at the accounts he uploads or the content. “QAnon’s stuff is way over his head,” claimed one of Trump’s advisers, describing a general view of his cosmos.
Another person who spoke to Trump recently told CNN, “I’ve never heard him talk about Q and can’t imagine he’s a follower or even knows much about him.” However, the person said, Trump aides “kept him away from that kind of thing.” The Trump team has a policy of requiring supporters at their rallies to remove QAnon T-shirts and posters as soon as they enter the venue.
However, Trump refused to outright disavow the movement, which the FBI warned was dangerous.
And while major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have had policies in place since 2020 banning explicit QAnon content, Trump-era conspiracy theory thrives on Truth Social.
Another Trump ally said: “I think it’s his responsibility to avoid this kind of nonsense.”
Sada Qanoun song
As for the song Trump played at his crowd last Saturday night that was linked to QAnon, Trump spokesman Taylor Bowdwich publicly dismissed the concerns about the music as a “pathetic attempt to stir up controversy and divide America.”
But secretly over the weekend, the Trump team wanted to know his origin.
There seem to be two online versions of all the songs except for the identical songs. The first, named after the QAnon “WWG1WGA” logo and available on Spotify, was designed by an artist named Richard Feelgood. Another titled “Mirrors” was written by a reputable composer. Trump’s team says they got the song from the latter, using a regular music program.
The song was first used by the Trump team in a video clip at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas in early August. A person familiar with the music selection told CNN that the video result was uploaded from a music service called Storyblocks by an assistant searching for “dark” and “epic” tones. Another source said that the song was chosen after hours of listening to the appropriate royalty-free songs, adding that the song was never subjected to any kind of audits before being used in the video.
However, they continued to use it. Trump shared a video for the Truth Social in which music accompanied campaign-style footage, then played that at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month for big emphasis during his recent remarks.
While an assistant noted that a small group of supporters raised their fingers during the Pennsylvania rally, the team didn’t think much of it. Trump was excited about the impact of the music under his speech, and the song was featured again in Ohio, where audience reaction went viral last Saturday.