This QAnon 'splinter group' has become a 'fixture' at Trump’s rallies: report

This QAnon 'splinter group' has become a 'fixture' at Trump’s rallies: report

During his 2020 reelection campaign, Donald Trump made a point of being evasive whenever the subject of QAnon came up. Trump carefully avoided saying anything negative about the far-right conspiracy movement, but he didn’t want to outright endorse them either.

Recently, however, Trump has gone full QAnon at his MAGA events, some of which have featured QAnon’s anthem and their slogan, “Where we go one, we go all.” And those events, according to Washington Post reporter Isaac Arnsdorf, are also where one is likely to encounter members of a small “QAnon splinter group” called Negative48.

“They’ve become a fixture at Trump’s rallies this year,” Arnsdorf reports in an article published on September 26. “Numbering about 100, they can be spotted by their lanyards sporting as many as 16 commemorative buttons from each rally they have attended. Or see them wrap their arms around each other to sway to Elvis Presley’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ blasting over the loudspeakers. Or lining up to take selfies in front of the stage with their leader, a man in American flag pants named Michael Brian Protzman.”

READ MORE: 'QMaga': How QAnon, MAGA and 'Christian nationalism' have pushed the GOP into 'madness'

At Trump events, Arnsdorf reports, the presence of Negative48 members has “led to a silent standoff with Trump’s team, raising concerns that they could disrupt events, alienate other fans, distract from the former president’s message or generate bad publicity.”

“The Trump team’s tensions with Negative48 come even as the ex-president has more and more explicitly courted support from QAnon followers with social media posts that adopt the movement’s slogans and imagery,” according to the Post reporter.

Arnsdorf points out that not everyone who identifies with QAnon is part of Negative48.

“QAnon followers search for hidden meaning in cryptic messages from a supposed military leader with the code name ‘Q’ and in Trump’s own pronouncements,” Arnsdorf explains. “The Negative48 spinoff focuses on deciphering meaning using a takeoff of gematria, an ancient Hebrew tradition of assigning numeric values to letters. Forty-eight, the group says, is the value of the word ‘evil.’”

READ MORE: QAnon believers, far-right influencers are reigniting fears of 'satanic panic'

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