Two Republican legislators used their social media accounts to promote the radical QAnon conspiracy movement over the Independence Day weekend.
On Saturday, Sen. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, posted a cartoon from political cartoonist Ben Garrison depicting President Donald Trump, his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and a figure whose head is a large Q marching and preparing to step on miniature figures labeled as globalists, Marxists and traitors.
That same day, Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, posted a message on his Twitter and Facebook accounts declaring, “Qanon Patriotic Americans who support President Trump.”
Lawrence has since posted an apology on Facebook, saying he knew “practically nothing” about the movement and had seen comments that led him to believe its members were being attacked simply for supporting Trump. He said he learned more about QAnon after people started commenting on his post, including screenshots depicting the ideas that the movement promotes.
“Now I think half of them are rather nuts. I do miss the simpler days when someone could say something patriotic and you could applaud without having to first make sure they don’t also think that Oprah and Tom Hanks secretly control the world,” Lawrence wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
Leach did not return a message asking about the cartoon he posted.
QAnon supporters believe that a person or people inside the U.S. government, known only as Q, leaves clues online about a sinister “deep state” plot against Trump and his supporters by a global cabal of pedophiles. Some QAnon conspiracy theories have involved celebrities such as Beyonce, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber and others. The FBI last year listed QAnon as a potential domestic terror threat.
In 2019, Congressman Paul Gosar retweeted an alleged QAnon “clue” about an “illegal coup” against Trump. His chief of staff said Gosar did not realize what the tweet was about and was largely unfamiliar with the QAnon conspiracy theory.