As things begin to look worse and worse for former Republican President Donald Trump amid the FBI inquiry into his stolen trove of documents, he has turned to increasingly desperate measures.
And a new post on his Truth Social social media app shows just how far he is willing to go in his desperate bid to cling to relevance and power. In short, he's gone full QAnon.
Trump has, of course, flirted with the unhinged far-right conspiracy theory and its devotees since it first came on the scene way back in 2017. But he's always maintained plausible deniability by leaning more toward dog-whistles than full-throated support.
That approach appears to be over with now that he is just outright sharing QAnon content, such as this meme showing Trump wearing QAnon regalia, overlaid with two of QAnon's most well-known slogans, which Trump "re-truthed" to his account.
As NBC News' Ben Collins put it:
Trump is again going mask off with the QAnon stuff on Truth Social...
In the meme, Trump is depicted wearing a Q pin, the symbol of the mysterious figure "Q" on whom the conspiracy theory is based, supposedly a deep government operative with the high-level Q security clearance.
Q's cryptic information reveals, or "Q drops," form the basis of the conspiracy theory, which claims Donald Trump is working to expose and prosecute a cabal of child sex-trafficking, Satan-worshiping elites in worldwide politics, intelligence, business and entertainment that includes everyone from Hillary Clinton and George Soros to Madonna and Tom Hanks.
Trump's meme also includes two of QAnon's most ubiquitous and prominent slogans.
The first, "The Storm Is Coming," refers to the QAnon tenet of "the storm," which is the moment when Trump's work finally exposes the crimes of the elites and they are publicly executed after a military tribunal.
The second is the acronym WWG1WGA, which stands for "Where We Go One, We Go All," a sort of "all for one and one for all" rallying cry of solidarity among QAnon devotees to keep the faith and trust the process of Trump's rooting out of Satanic corruption.
If this all sounds absurd, that's because it is--and this piece does not even scratch the surface of the wide-ranging nonsensical obsessions of QAnon followers.
But while the absurdity of it all suggests QAnon is nothing more than a lunatic fringe, it is anything but: As of the most recent research compiled in February, some 20% of Americans in general and 25% of Republicans believe QAnon conspiracies, numbers that have increased markedly since Trump left office.
And with mainstream Republicans slowly backing away from him as his documents scandal begins to seem increasingly inescapable, Trump has been leaning into his QAnon base heavily in recent weeks.
This has led them to believe they were right about everything all along, despite obvious events to the contrary like Q's years-long radio silence and Trump's own loss of the presidency.
There have been several incidents of QAnon-affiliated violence in recent weeks, including one in which a Michigan Q follower murdered his wife and injured his daughter, and another in which a Pennsylvania man stormed into a Dairy Queen vowing to "kill Democrats" and restore Trump as "president king."
On Twitter, many were disturbed by Trump's latest meme and what it might signal about his future plans.
With Trump openly shouting-out the QAnon movement and members appearing on ballots all over the country in November, it's long past time the conspiracy theory's delusional bloodthirst is taken seriously.