On Tuesday, three weeks after the FBI raided his home in Mar-a-Lago—and as the probe appears very much to be heating up—Donald Trump went on what can only be described as a meltdown on his social media platform TruthSocial.
That in itself isn’t too remarkable; Trump’s frenzied late-night or early-morning outbursts on Twitter became so routine at a certain point in his presidency that reporters nearly stopped covering them. But this meltdown—on the platform he launched after he was kicked off Facebook and Twitter for inciting violence on Jan. 6—involved some three dozen angry and troll-ish posts and reposts over the course of just a few hours. And it included some new and particularly extreme statements we hadn’t previously seen publicly from the former president.
Here’s what, of Trump’s actions on social media this morning, was notably new from the former president.
For the first time, Trump explicitly shared QAnon content. On the platform, he shared a nonsensical “Q Drop”—one of the cryptic missives from “Q” himself—that had something to do with the military investigating the FBI, CIA, and NSA and was first posted in the early days of his presidency.
We don’t know why he did this. QAnon positions Trump as a messianic hero, so there’s clearly some appeal there; Trump once called QAnon proponents “people that love our country” and declined to condemn QAnon during a 2020 interview on primetime television. But it seems unlikely that Trump, who is all too aware that he is not, in fact, about to triumphantly turn the tables on his enemies and usher in The Storm, would have taken the time to dig deep on QAnon conspiracy theories. As Ben Collins from NBC News noted, it seems more likely that Trump, from whatever emotional state he was in, “read ‘FBI’ and got excited.’”
Still, this matters for the energizing effect it’s had on his fans, and perhaps more significantly on the seemingly dormant QAnon movement.
It’s been a tough time for QAnon, given that literally none of the predictions have come to pass. It’s also hard to reconcile the underlying premise—that Trump will retake office and clear out the pedophile elites of the Deep State with mass arrests—with the reality that Trump himself is facing potential criminal charges. But with Trump’s own entrance into the fray, they’re back at it.
“QAnon forums are obviously ecstatic and bloodthirsty after Trump’s Q-endorsing tweetstorm this morning,” Collins wrote on Twitter. “They had been relatively dead in the last few months, with users headed over to general Trump forums and militia/Q influencer Telegrams. Not anymore.”
One of the few times the MAGA crowd have parted ways with their president has been over the matter of COVID vaccines. Trump himself was publicly vaccinated and has bragged about his administration pushing to develop the vaccine so quickly. But on Tuesday morning, Trump “re-truthed” a post that featured a fake quote from his daughter Ivanka. The fake quote warned her compatriots to avoid the “useless vaccines” and “cure yourself naturally at home” because the Biden administration was “trying to manipulate you.”
This is the first time Trump has openly painted the COVID vaccine as a malicious tool of the Biden administration and, as far as we know, the first time he has shared fake Ivanka quotes as though they were real.
Bonus: Call for Reinstatement
Trump actually posted this a little before noon on Monday, but it set the tone for his middle-of-the-night outburst that went into Tuesday morning. In a post on TruthSocial, Trump claimed that the FBI covered up a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in order to prevent Trump from winning. While it’s very hard to navigate what this allegation was all about, Trump’s remedy was fairly straightforward and new: that two years into Biden’s presidency Trump be declared the rightful winner and installed in the White House, or at the minimum have a do-over election “immediately!”
The president has never really stopped complaining about the stolen election, but he had not previously publicly claimed that he should be reinstated in office—a notion as constitutionally absurd as it sounds. Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, the losing candidate for the GOP Senate nomination this year, did say in March that Trump had repeatedly asked Brooks to rescind the 2020 election and reinstall Trump in office, again an utterly insane notion. But that claim had never been confirmed. Now we know, Trump does think that he can be put back into office, even though there’s no mechanism to do so, and it is his apparent goal.
We’ll leave it to others to speculate as to what kind of anxieties drove Trump to such an outburst, but we’ll note this: The reach of Trump’s words is limited. TruthSocial has been banned from the Google Play store, meaning a huge chunk of the American population cannot download his app.