Donald Trump directed his followers to a straight-up QAnon account on Tuesday, and invited some of his Reddit meme-makers to the White House in July. But if you want the ultimate sign of the Trump administration’s merger with the right-wing fringe, you need look no further than the next round of the American Priority Conference, where at least one former top Trump administration official will mingle with the pro-Trump internet’s craziest characters at a Trump hotel.
American Priority Conference was a confab started last year by pro-Trump Internet personalities who felt snubbed by the more establishment and higher profile Conservative Political Action Conference. Its 2018 outing in D.C. was, to put it mildly, a disaster. One speaker refused to even take the stage because the crowd was so small.
This year, they’re giving the conference another shot, this time at Trump’s Miami hotel with a surprisingly robust line-up of top speakers. The list includes former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Florida congressman and Trump favorite Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Turning Point USA chief and frequent White House visitor Charlie Kirk.
Sanders and the other bigwigs will be joined by the usual crew of more marginal right-wing characters, including Trump pardon recipient Dinesh D’Souza, Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec, and “media personality” Joshua Feuerstein, whose claim to fame is that he starred in a viral rant four years ago about Starbucks offering generic red holiday cups instead of Christmas-themed ones.
So far, the 2019 conference looks basically like an alternative CPAC. Once you start going down the list of speakers, however, things start getting weirder.
QAnon booster Tracy Beanz is on the agenda, a year after she organized hundred QAnon believers to march around downtown D.C. chanting: “Where we go one, we go all.” Proposed conference topics include curiously phrased items like “Voter Fraud, What’s the deal?” and “Artificial Intelligence, why I should be concerned about it?”
The most interesting speaker might be David “Avocado” Wolfe, an alternative medicine guru who’s offering three days of yoga classes for attendees. But Wolfe isn’t just a yoga instructor. He also believes the earth is flat, that vaccines are harmful, and that the air is being poisoned with chemtrails delivered by airplanes. Wolfe’s ideas somehow get even more esoteric from there. According to The Outline, Wolfe has claimed that “mushrooms arrived on our planet via the cosmic wind.”
Wolfe’s ideas, in other words, are a melange of some of the craziest ideas the internet has to offer. That he’s one of the top speakers at a conference that also features a former White House official and a sitting congressman gives you a sense of the bizarre moment the pro-Trump right is living in, in which the conspiracy theory internet has been legitimized by the office of the president.
Believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory will head to Washington on September 11th for a rally at the foot of the Washington Monument under the ominous tagline “Q Sent Us.” While the rally’s agenda is thin so far, you can expect QAnon believers to call for Trump to make QAnon’s prophecies come true and carry out the arrest and execution of top Democrats.
The rally organizers say they’ve obtained a permit from the Park Service, and two major QAnon promoters are on board: Jordan Sather, who advocates for drinking bleach, among other things, and a pro-Trump rapper named “Educating Liberals,” because he’s constantly educating liberals.
But all is not well with the rally. The problem with holding a QAnon event in Washington is that many QAnon believers are convinced that the entire capital is riddled with Masonic symbols, especially on the Mall. That makes it difficult for organizers to find a place that has both patriotic significance and isn’t considered a symbol of a demonic cabal, and they haven’t succeeded this time.
Much of the reaction to the rally’s location near the Washington Monument within the QAnon community has focused on concern about any satanic power inherent in the landmark. One QAnon supporter on Twitter fumed that the event was being held in one of the “most dangerous” locations in the country.
“9/11 at Baal’s shaft?” wrote another. “No thanks.”
Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff has a great new podcast, “Conspiracyland,” on the origins of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. It’s an interesting look at how Russian intelligence operatives, Fox News, internet trolls, and a variety of rival right-wing hucksters collided to create one of the 2016 election’s most enduring hoaxes — and terrorize Rich’s family.