Republican senator Ben Sasse launched a broadside at his own party Sunday, warning its embrace of QAnon conspiracy theorists risks it becoming ‘the part of Alex Jones.’
In an essay in The Atlantic, he denounced freshman congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a follower of the claims, as ‘cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs’ and warned that the presence of so many Q fanatics in the MAGA mob who stormed the Capitol were the result of a ‘rotten seed’ inside the Republican Party.
He highlighted how the FBI revealed the determination of one follower to be at the head of the mob was so ‘Q would get the credit’ – which Sasse warned was emblematic of the problems Republicans face of embracing those who follow the bizarre creed.
‘It is the blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago and has been nourished by treachery, poor political judgment, and cowardice,’ he wrote.
‘Until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon.’
Sasse, the junior Nebraska senator, has become an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, but widened his criticism in the essay to warn other party leaders that the QAnon cult is an existential threat to their party.
Doug Jensen was arrested, having led the mob against Goodman. He appeared in the federal courthouse in Des Moines via Zoom from Polk County Jail Tuesday where he was indicted on six federal charges. The FBI says he told them he wanted ‘Q to get the credit’ for the riot so put himself at the head of the mob
Jacob Chansley, 33, was seen in the Capitol wearing face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns and carrying a US flag attached to a spear. Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, calls himself the ‘QAnon Shaman’
At one point, Angeli, who has since been arrested and charged for his role in the riot, is seen asking someone to take his photo. Angeli is then seen writing a note on the desk as an officer asks him to leave. ‘It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming!’ the note reads
Part of the GOP scene: The Trump rally at the Ellipse and then the riot at the Capitol featured Q flags and clothes. Sasse said his party had let the followers in and allowed them to ‘fester’
‘When Trump leaves office, my party faces a choice: We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories, cable-news fantasies, and the ruin that comes with them,’ he wrote.
‘We can be the party of Eisenhower, or the party of the conspiracist Alex Jones.’
Jones has been a steady presence at rallies in the wake of Trump’s election defeat, and turned up at the Capitol amid the riot, although he does not appear to have entered it.
Before the riot, as the MAGA mob marched to the Capitol, PBS reported that Jones was seen on tape telling them: ‘We need to understand we’re under attack, and we need to understand this is 21st-century warfare and get on a war-footing.’
Sasse said that evidence of the dangers of the QAnon claims were crystallized by footage of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, hailed a hero for single-handedly diverting the mob – who chanted ‘hang Mike Pence’ from the Senate chamber while the vice president was in it.
The senator said that Douglas Jensen, the man at the head of the mob of rioters who Goodman managed to tempt away from the chamber, exemplified how the Q claims had forced out rational discourse.
Jensen’s social media was full of the claims of the theory, which makes a hero of Mike Flynn, the first Trump national security advisor who was fired for lying to Pence, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, then got a pardon from Trump after reversing his guilty plea when he was represented by Sidney Powell, the ‘Kraken’ attorney whp pushed outlandish voter fraud claims.
‘It is very possible that the QAnon devotee Douglas Jensen believed the junk he’d been sold – that he was a valued foot soldier in Trump’s war against shadowy forces of darkness,’ Sasse wrote.
Sasse said that the Republican party risked its own future by accommodating the irrationality of people like Jensen instead of taking a clear stand against the Q claims.
And he laced into Taylor Greene, the Georgia congresswoman who has embraced QAnon claims and who was also on record as a 9/11 truther.
Taylor Greene has promised to introduced articles of impeachment against Joe Biden as soon as he is sworn in.
Sasse assailed her mental state but also slammed Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, for failing to come out against her when she was running for the House last year, accusing him of a failure of leadership.
‘She’ll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents, and the Republican Party,’ Sasse wrote.
Sasse acknowledged that he had himself been named as part of the cabal of international child traffickers which QAnon followers believe will be caught and arrested or summarily executed by Donald Trump.
A feature of the metastizing conspiracy claims is that anyone who criticizes them is likely to be accused by followers of being part of the network of Satan-worshipping pedophiles QAnon claims to have uncovered.
‘Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.’ Ben Sasse said Marjorie Taylor Greene’s presence in the House GOP caucus was the result of failed leadership by Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, when she ran for the Georgia district she represents
His party or Eisenhower’s? Alex Jones, the InfoWars conspiracy theorist, was at the Capitol on January 6 although is not known to have entered it
Another one: Cleveland Meredith Jr. boasted about wanting ti kill Nancy Pelosi and turned up in D.C. on the day of the rally with a truck and trailer packed with ammunition. He was a fanatical QAnon follower
Cleveland Meredith Jr. became radicalized by QAnon theories in 2017, going so far to post billboards for the group around Atlanta the following year – which also displayed the name of his car wash company Car Nutz
With the window closing for their claims of a ‘storm’ or ‘great awakening’ to come true, and the disappearance from message boards of any new information from ‘Q’ since the election, followers appear to have become more frenzied.
The FBI has warned they are a major domestic terror threat. The first time Trump was directly confronted about them he claimed: ‘I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much.’
Before being banned from Twitter, Trump h ad repeatedly tweeted claims from QAnon followers.
His official legal team challenging the 2020 election results briefly included ‘Kraken’ attorney Sidney Powell, who has repeatedly amplified QAnon claims.
Jensen was not the only of the more than 100 MAGA rioters so far arrested by the FBI to express devotion for the bizarre conspiracy claims.
Others included Cleveland Meredith Jr., who texted that he wanted to put a bullet in ‘Nancy Pelosi’s noggin’ and who previously funded billboards with the theory’s slogan WWG1WGA – where we go one, we go all – in Georgia.
And the most prominent rioter to be arrested so far was Jacob Chansley, the ‘Q Shaman’ who sat in Mike Pence’s chair in the Senate and left a note saying: ‘It’s only a matter of time – justice is coming.’
He is being held in federal custody after a judge said: ‘I do believe he was an active participant in a violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the US government on January 6 2021.’
Chansley – who is being fed with organic food in prison on the basis of his ‘religious beliefs’ as a shaman – told federal authorities he was planning a return to the Capitol for Joe Biden’s inauguration, and ‘glad’ of his actions because he believes the Vice President ‘is a child-trafficking traitor.’
WHAT IS QANON?
Origins: Q Anon started on fringe website 4chan, where a poster calling themselves Q left messages claiming to be a senior federal official and purporting to reveal a ‘deep state’ cabal intent on bringing down Donald Trump. Q grew out of the discredited Pizzagate conspiracy that top Democrats were involved in pedophilia and cannibalism from the basement of a Washington D.C. restaurant, but quickly picked up steam with ‘Q’ leaving ‘clues’ and claims that Trump was going to bring down the deep state. Whenever the conspiracies turn out to not be true, followers rationalize that the inaccuracies are part of Q’s larger plan.
Who is Q?: There may now be multiple people posing as Q on the anonymous 4chan boards
A QAnon believer blocked the bridge near Hoover Dam with a homemade armored tank in the name of the movement, and later pleaded guilty to terrorism
Hoover Dam: In June 2019, 32-year-old Matthew Wright, a QAnon supporter, blocked the bridge near Hoover Dam in Arizona with a homemade armored vehicle in a 90-minute stand-off. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and has written two letters to Donald Trump from jail, which include the sign-off, which has become the QAnon motto: “For where we go one, we go all.”
Michael Flynn: Trump’s former national security adviser became a martyr figure for QAnon believers after he took a plea deal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, admitting he lied about his Russia contacts. QAnon conspiracy have spun Flynn pleading guilty into him being a persecuted victim of the deep state – and some even claim he is ‘Q.’
Many believers put three star emojis next to their Twitter handles. But the retired three-star general has denounced any connections to the group and pulled out of participating in an event after finding out it was hosted by a QAnon believer.
QAnon believers make former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn out to be a martyr after taking a plea deal with Robert Mueller
QAnon Political Candidates: Jo Rae Perkins, 64, won the Republican primary in Oregon in May to run for a Senate seat against incumbent Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley. “I stand with Q and the team,” she said when asked about her interest in the group. She insisted she goes to QAnon message boards as a “source of information” and claims media focuses too much on the group. Perkins won 49 per cent of the vote against three other Republicans.
Marjorie Taylor Greene came in first place in the Republican primary in a deep-red Georgia district, and will enter an August runoff. She has admitted to believing in several QAnon conspiracy theories.