The mass conspiracy web known as QAnon hinges on the delusion that a covert network of satanic cannibal pedophiles secretly controls the United States government—and that former President Donald Trump was sent to expose them.
While the claim is ludicrous on its face, it's seen growing legitimization thanks to right-wing disinformation. Supporters of QAnon have been elected to Congress and Republican heavy hitters have used its dog whistles to gain popularity among its followers.
QAnon believers were certain Trump would expose widespread election fraud committed by Democrats, only to see these results verified by courts, state legislatures, and the electoral college. They were certain former Vice President Mike Pence would overturn the 2020 election results at the joint session to certify Biden's victory, but despite the armed insurrection upending them, the proceedings continued and Biden's victory was acknowledged.
And on January 20, Inauguration Day, they were convinced Trump would give them orders through the emergency broadcast system, and that mass arrests of prominent lawmakers would occur, somehow clearing the way for Trump to regain the presidency.
Now, Trump has been out of office for over six weeks, but some QAnon believers are still certain that his reign isn't over, and that March 4 will be the "true" inauguration day, marking the beginning of Trump's second term.
The claim is that the United States secretly became a corporation instead of a country in 1871, thereby making every U.S. President since Ulysses S. Grant illegitimate. QAnon circles claim Trump will restore the legitimacy of the United States as a country and become the 19th "real" President on March 4, the original inauguration date before the passage of the 20th Amendment.
Yes, it's a ridiculous belief, but not so ridiculous that the Trump Organization is above profiting off of it.
Sure enough, prices for Trump's D.C. hotel skyrocketed for the 3rd and 4th of March, tripling in price up to $1,300 per night—an increase not seen in any other D.C. hotels, or in Trump hotels in other major cities like New York and Chicago.
The best indicator that there might be trouble in DC on March 4th? Trump hotel rates increased. A room that runs… https://t.co/J6ZN5c7aLF— Jennifer Bennon (@Jennifer Bennon)1614790788.0
The reason for this uptick isn't stated, but some are inferring the prices have something to do with the quixotic "true" inauguration.
This feels like a good time to quote H.L Mencken. "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the A… https://t.co/5V4jOGRLaQ— Carol McCarthy (@Carol McCarthy)1612903279.0
The open and transparent profiteering off a lie is truly alarming - and yet there is endless precedent. https://t.co/b6nqHDwFJ2— Jim Sciutto (@Jim Sciutto)1613589443.0
Trump is a terrorist leader inciting more terrorist attacks. This is not hyperbole. https://t.co/s0nB6TtdcI— Anthony Scaramucci (@Anthony Scaramucci)1613592507.0
It is grimly funny just how good he is at personally price gouging his most devoted and delusional supporters https://t.co/QhCJV39ksh— mike (getting worried) (@mike (getting worried))1613589886.0
Part dangerous conspiracy theory, part comically obvious grift. https://t.co/KJSQ85YGEs— Ali Gharib (@Ali Gharib)1613589664.0
Trump is making money off of the QAnon people. Pretty funny actually https://t.co/mXD3j1lx0e— Devin...PNW4Ever 🇺🇸🌲 (@Devin...PNW4Ever 🇺🇸🌲)1613591618.0
To make the price hikes even more self-serving, officials found that at least one militia group is plotting possible violent action on Thursday.
While tensions in D.C. aren't expected to escalate to the level of January 6, intelligence agencies are still on alert for violence from pro-Trump extremists.
The fences are still up because there are still Trump Republicans planning to make assault on the Capitol and the C… https://t.co/iRXXP0VX8I— TakingHayekSeriously🧨 (@TakingHayekSeriously🧨)1614794819.0
Let’s not get caught withour pant down again. Be prepared DC! https://t.co/xqSGW49nMJ— Susie Q (@Susie Q)1614790006.0
It's time to start referring to militia groups as terrorists https://t.co/EhkU6HYmap— Erik Prado (@Erik Prado)1614788998.0
D.C. residents are encouraged to remain vigilant on March 4.