David Reinert holds up a large “Q” sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. “Q” represents QAnon, a conspiracy theory group that has been seen at recent rallies. | Rick Loomis/Getty Images
Kristina Karamo, a 2022 Republican Michigan secretary of state candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is set to speak at an upcoming QAnon conference billed as the “Great Awakening Weekend” in Las Vegas.
Scheduled from Friday until Monday, the “For God & Country: Patriot Double Down” event is being organized by John Sabal, known as “QAnon John” who recently called for a “military mutiny” against President Joe Biden.
Its roster of speakers features a whirlwind of QAnon devotees who have dedicated good chunks of their recent lives to promoting the right-wing conspiracy theory that’s rooted in anti-Semitic tropes and revolves around Trump hunting down and eventually killing Democratic politicians and wealthy liberals who lead double lives as Satan-worshipping cannibals running a child sex-trafficking ring.
Karamo, of Oak Park, confirmed on her campaign Facebook page that she will speak at the event, and she’s also listed as a speaker on the event’s official website that displays a promotional video filled with such QAnon phrases as “the truth will set you free” and “where we go one we go all.” The video ends with the image of a playing card emblazoned with the words, “God wins.”
“Come To The Patriot Double Down Where I will be speaking!!!” Karamo wrote earlier this month.
Karamo did not immediately return a request for comment for this story.
The Republican secretary of state candidate has not explicitly endorsed QAnon but she has consistently promoted the false and repeatedly debunked notion that the 2020 election was stolen and Trump is the true victor, an idea that’s central to QAnon conspiracy theorists. Karamo gained national attention as a poll watcher in 2020, pushed unproven claims about Wayne County election practices before a state Senate panel, and traveled to Arizona for a so-called election “audit” that found no evidence the 2020 election was stolen.
Just last week, Karamo was on One America News Network, a far-right, pro-Trump cable channel, where she again repeated the false idea that “there was massive cheating and fraud in the election.”
Karamo could potentially face state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) and Plainfield Township Clerk Cathleen Postmus for the GOP nomination. Voters will not pick the nominee; delegates at the Michigan Republican Party convention will in April. The nominee will likely face Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
One of the speakers at the “Great Awakening Weekend” is Jim Watkins, the owner of the 8kun website that is home to messages from “Q,” the anonymous internet poster who launched the QAnon phenomenon by claiming to be a high-ranking U.S. government official with access to classified information. Jim Watkins’ son, Ron Watkins, will also speak at the event. Ron Watkins has been accused of being “Q” himself and is now running for Congress in Arizona.
QAnon has found a prominent home among Michigan GOP activists in recent years. At a pro-Trump rally last week calling for a so-called “audit,” state Rep. Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) wore a QAnon pin, which she has also donned in the Legislature.
The conspiracy theory was born in 2017 when an anonymous account posted on 4chan, one of the internet’s oldest and most infamous message boards, and began writing about Trump’s so-called secret war against a deep state cabal of pedophiles and sex traffickers.
The anonymous account, named “Q Clearance Patriot,” went on to become known simply as “Q.” The account has since made thousands of posts, known as “drops” in the QAnon world, first on 4chan, then on 8chan, another message board, and now at 8kun.
Each “drop” is cryptic, leading to followers attempting to decode the dizzying array of false information, from top-level Democrats being involved in child trafficking to the coming “great awakening,” which Q followers have said essentially amounts to Trump leading the United States to greatness by unveiling the members and actions of the “deep state,” or the group of dangerous top-tier government officials and other elite figures who are secretly running the world.
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