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8chan has been down for over a month, and the conspiracy avatar known as QAnon has been silent for even longer.
Even so, the theory that President Donald Trump is covertly fighting a pedophile-infested deep state and dropping clues about it on social media, is still going strong, thanks to a community that won’t let it go.
Case in point: QAnon believers deciding that Trump’s firing of national security adviser John Bolton was all part of Q’s master plan.
And how can you not believe, when a bolt of lightning struck a departing Air Force One a day earlier?
Departing, Bolt on.— QAnon ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Qanon76) September 10, 2019
Bolton Departing 🤔 https://t.co/zfgvZ5NjXh
QAnon routinely folds daily events into its narrative, but with 8chan down, it’s up to the believers on Twitter to continue the narrative.
And Bolton’s ouster is perfect fodder to keep the Q story going, even without Q. Because, like everyone in the Trump administration, he was forced into it.
Since taking over for H.R. McMaster in April 2018, Bolton was mentioned in three Q drops. Two came that same month, and one a few months later. At first, Q seemed to like Bolton, commanding followers first to “Follow Bolton,” then showing a picture of uniformed military officers in the Oval Office and claiming “Bolton cleaning house. Out they go! A clean House is very important.”
The content of these drops would indicate that Bolton would be the one doing the cleaning out of the “house.”
Bolton Out A Marker?— RunningTheRace ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@2runtherace) September 10, 2019
Drops will go fast.
WH clean SIG.
Everything is planned.
Q@realDonaldTrump https://t.co/EJbDlelowP pic.twitter.com/SooY3eAPN8
Of course, nothing in QAnon is quite that simple or clear cut.
But it doesn’t seem like the “cleaning house” happened. Instead, a few months later, Q seemed to have soured on the mustachioed neo-conservative. In a mostly cryptic post about how the cabal failed to “keep Trump away” from Putin, Q declared “Bolton + PUTIN should scare you.”
What did this mean? Why did Q seem to think the prospect of Bolton (a Q friend) and Putin (also a Q friend) teaming up together was bad? Q never picked up the thread again.
But by the time of his firing, Bolton would seem to be on the bad guys’ team.
The QAnon community is largely celebrating the departure of John Bolton from the White House.— Travis View (@travis_view) September 10, 2019
They believe it signals a "clean house." They're a bit fuzzy on the significance of a "clean house" and what will happen next, but they're confident something good will happen. pic.twitter.com/vAIlas5G0O
So the new consensus is that Bolton’s firing was all part of Trump’s plan to clean up the deep state and get the warmongering cabal infiltrators out.
Despite that also being the case when Bolton first came in.
It brings up the question of if Trump needed Bolton gone to start bringing the bad people to justice, why nominate him in the first place?
Since Q is silent, that won’t get explained. But it’s not necessary, if one looks for signposts elsewhere.
For QAnon believers, it’s hard to ignore the timing of the current national security adviser being fired on the exact same day that Trump’s first NSA, Michael Flynn, was in court for a sentencing hearing. Could Flynn, who has a huge following among the Q movement, be Trump’s replacement for Bolton? Flynn’s (eventual) exoneration and return to the White House have been part of QAnon lore since before Bolton took over.
The timing could work.
64) #Qanon turns to General Flynn.— Praying Medic (@prayingmedic) April 25, 2018
He suggests that the public narrative (Flynn's life destroyed) is a cover story.
What has Flynn's covert role been?
White House staff changes (Bolton) are a signal
Pompeo moved to Sec of State was strategic to counter pushback from deep state. pic.twitter.com/FmaNCKz0uK
Other speculation centered on who would replace Bolton. A favorite emerged in retired Admiral Mike Rogers, whose leadership of the National Security Agency straddled the Obama and Trump administrations.
A number of Q posts speculated on Rogers’ relationship to Trump.
One wondered why Trump seemed to move the presidential transition office from Trump Tower right after he had a meeting with Rogers in Dec. 2016. Did Rogers warn Trump about potential deep state spying at Trump Tower? Is Rogers part of the Q team?
Rogers was reported to have later rebuffed Trump when the president approached him for help with the Robert Mueller investigation. Beyond that, Trump was still holding transition meetings at Trump Tower in December. Rogers actually met with Trump in late November. So that’s another thing Q is wrong about.
Finally, Bolton’s departure brought with it all the usual symbolism, numerology, parsing out of Trump tweets, and guessing that have been baked into Q since day one.
Some people thought Bolton’s firing meant “his job was done,” whatever it was. It’s not clear what, if anything Bolton accomplished in his time.
Unless he was just there to be a bridge back to Flynn.
There’s one more possibility, of course.
It’s that without Q around, believers in the movement will do anything to keep their dream of a deep state purge alive, even if it means inventing an alternate reality where Bolton wasn’t simply the next victim of Trump’s musical chairs government.
Where’s the conspiracy in that?
Mike Rothschild is a writer who specializes in researching and debunking conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs. He also writes about politics, history, and breaking news.