The use of certain hand gestures and music at recent Republican political rallies, including a recent Ohio rally where former president Donald Trump appeared, is raising eyebrows and concerns. Video clips from the events are being called everything from creepy and bizarre to Nazi-like and supportive of QAnon.
Doug Mastriano, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, told attendees at a weekend rally to “put your right hand in the air” as he prayed for America to “have a new birth of liberty.” Although some online commentators characterize the raised hands as a Nazi-type salute, others point out it’s a common posture of prayer for Christians.
Ohio Rally Attendees Salute Donald Trump
At a September 17 rally for J.D. Vance, a Republican Senate hopeful from Ohio, former president Donald Trump delivered an ominous message about America’s decline. While music played that apparently sounded similar to a QAnon-linked song, many listeners at the Ohio rally raised their hands in a one-finger salute. Journalist Aaron Rupar, who tweeted clips from rally, called it “weird and cult-like,” adding “all it is missing is passing around Kool-Aid right after.”
Some people are labeling the event fascist, while others raise concerns that Trump has been seeming “to more fully embrace QAnon” lately. The music accompanying his speech Saturday was very similar to the song “Wwg1wga,” which stands for the conspiracy theory’s slogan “Where we go one, we go all.”
The one-finger salute may have referenced the “one” in that slogan, some people say. Others link it to Trump’s America First platform. Confusion exists even in the Trump camp about the salute’s exact meaning, says NBC’s Ben Collins. “Whatever it is, it’s deeply weird, and I haven’t seen it before.”
A Trump spokesperson says the song, titled “Mirrors,” appeared in a Trump video at CPAC, a conservative gathering. “The fake news, in a pathetic attempt to create controversy and divide America, is brewing up another conspiracy about a royalty-free song from a popular audio library platform,” says Taylor Budowich.
Is Donald Trump ‘Welcoming’ QAnon Members?
Several media outlets are writing about Trump’s move from merely “winking” at QAnon to “welcoming” it. Trump recently posted a photo of himself wearing a Q pin, captioned “The Storm is Coming.” In late August, he reposted—then deleted—a so-called “q drop” message.
According to AP, more than one-third of the accounts Trump reposted on his Truth Social platform during the past month promoted QAnon somehow. The movement’s adherents often brag about being reposted—or “retruthed”—by the former president, whom many consider a savior figure.