The prophecy failed in December, January, and March. Twice.
But now, claim conspiratorial fans of Donald Trump, the legendary month has finally arrived. In August, some of the most fringe voices in the ex-president’s vast universe of followers and adjacent conspirators still seem to think Trump will be reinstated.
That is, if the conspiracy theory author doesn’t reschedule it.
When Trump lost re-election in November, he and some of his more staunch supporters insisted that he be re-installed for a second term soon, perhaps after a vote revision (which ultimately confirmed Joe Biden’s victory) or a military intervention on inauguration day (never happened) or even one of several alternative inauguration in March (also didn’t happen).
Undaunted, a faction of Trump fans predicted that he would reclaim his throne this month. The baseless theory has sparked Trump’s interest, contributed to at least two Homeland Security warnings about an increased risk of far-right violence, and now appears to be driving far-right QAnon votes to tie Trump’s return to the latest increase. of the coronavirus.
As The Daily Beast previously reported, Trump fans can trace that latest prophecy not to legal scholars, but to pillow salesman Mike Lindell. Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, predicted this spring that the 2020 election results would be wiped out by or sometime in August. When Trump started telling confidants that he expected to get back to work this month, Lindell took credit for the theory, tell The Daily Beast“If Trump says August, it’s probably because he heard me say it.”
Lindell reached out for comment Monday, admitting that his August timeline — which he had already suggested was elastic — could now be further delayed.
“We will present our findings to the Supreme Court in late August or early September, some time after the cyber symposium ends, and it proves it was an attack by China,” Lindell told The Daily Beast of non-existent election fraud. , and an upcoming event dedicated to the same. “When I gave my prediction for August, which was a few months ago, that was an estimate at the time. But it took so long to set up this symposium. I cannot predict how long it will take before the Supreme Court will rule on it. I am not the Supreme Court.”
Lindell previously based his prediction on a timeline with pro-Trump cases to be brought before the Supreme Court in July. Those high stakes cases never materialized.
But a conspiratorial pro-Trump mob — especially fans of the QAnon community — are holding on to the prediction or coming up with their own alternatives, offering new reasons to believe that this is the month Trump can retake the presidency. (A Trump spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment for this story.)
One of those reasons was Lindell herself.
The pillow titan is currently advertising that mid-August “symposium” that he claims will reveal Trump won the 2020 election. (Lindell has released multiple unmasked “documentaries” plead the same cause, including one that required a disclaimer that its contents “were opinions only and are not intended to be construed or interpreted by the viewer as established facts.)
In a recent appearance on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast, Lindell suggested that his latest symposium would be so compelling that Biden would voluntarily resign.
“If we have the symposium, by the night of the 12th or the morning of the 13th, when everyone has seen it, including the government sitting there now and not winning, maybe Biden and Harris would say, ‘Hey, we’re here to protect the country’ and resign,” Lindell said. “I’m serious!”
Other more explicitly QAnon-adjacent conspiracy theorists have merged Lindell’s upcoming symposium with other events they claim will usher in a new Trump presidency.
Ron Watkins, a former administrator of the QAnon hosting message board 8kun, posted on Friday that Lindell’s symposium coincided with other mid-August events of interest in the QAnon community, such as a test of the Emergency Alert System. QAnon fans, who accuse Trump’s enemies of satanic pedophilia and/or cannibalism, have previously claimed that Trump using an emergency broadcasting system to announce mass arrests of Democrats. He didn’t.
Watkins and other Q-promoting conspiracy theorists have been tinkering with their August theory in recent days, incorporating news stories as they evolved. Multiple conspiracy theorists, including Watkins, have pointed to the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant as signs that Democrats were planning “lockdowns” in mid-August to distract from voter fraud. (Watkins could not be reached for comment.)
A second QAnon conspiracy theorist with a large audience baselessly claimed on Twitter that potential vaccine mandates for military members would help the armed forces rise this month in favor of Trump.
Continuing the theory on Monday, Watkins suggested Trump fans were closer than ever to undoing the election. He specifically cited a “whistleblower” release of voting machine manuals made by Dominion, the company that sued Fox News and other outlets for falsely involving conspiracy theories about electoral fraud.
As one podcaster quickly noted on Twitter, those manuals were already freely available online.
QAnon fans are used to failed prophecies. Their conspiracy theory started with one, in October 2017, when the anonymous personality “Q” claimed that Hillary Clinton and her assistant Huma Abedin would be arrested in the coming weeks. When those dates passed without arrests, Q implied new blows to the left: arrests or suicides of Democrats that, again, never materialized. QAnon supporters offered their own theories, such as mass arrests at George HW Bush’s funeral (never happened) and mass arrests on National Popcorn Day (also a dud).
When Trump lost in November, Q fans were quick to claim that the election results would be destroyed in a recount (it didn’t), and voters would refuse to confirm Biden’s January 6 victory (Biden’s victory was announced that day). certified, despite a QAnon-fueled US Capitol riot). Though some QAnon fans thought Trump would? lead mass arrests on Inauguration DayBiden was sworn in safely on January 20. Undaunted, believers claimed Trump took office at an alternate inauguration on March 4 and, when it didn’t, on March 20.
The repeated failures have deterred some conspiracy fans. When Watkins uploaded his already publicly available documents Monday, a minority of followers on his Telegram channel expressed frustration at what appeared to be more false hopes.
“Let’s see some shit because we’re all tired of waiting and trusting,” one person wrote.
However, a recent study by the Global Network on Extremism and Technology Spotted, some frustrated believers might take drastic measures to realize QAnon’s delusions.
“The movement is likely to survive these failures in prophecy and continue to recycle old conspiracy theories to fit into new contexts,” noted the GNET paper. “Perhaps the biggest concern arising from these failed predictions is that QAnon supporters are beginning to feel led to take matters into their own hands after seeing that they cannot expect political or military leaders to carry out their vision. In this case, the failed predictions of the past may prompt some QAnon supporters to take immediate action and spark a new, more dangerous phase in the movement’s development.”
Government agencies have responded with similar concerns. The Department of Homeland Security recently issued two warnings about the risk of violence from QAnon supporters frustrated by a botched August prophecy, CNN reported:.
In addition to Lindell, some Trump-backing figures — even those who have supported QAnon in the past — have withdrawn from the August timeline. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared on Bannon’s podcast last month to lower Trump fans’ hopes.
“I’d hate to see anyone get any hope that President Trump will be back in the White House in August because that’s not true and I’m telling you that as a member of Congress that’s a very hard thing to do,” Groen said.
—with coverage by Asawin Suebsaeng