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Remember when the CIA killed JFK and we didn’t land on the moon? Wacky conspiracy theories have always been with us. What’s different about our current moment is that a sitting president is so often complicit in them.

Donald Trump’s reality-bending political career began with a racist lie about America’s first black president then pushed bigoted falsehoods about immigrants, followed by his mathematically debunked nonsense about the 2016 vote. And all that was just the start.
No wonder his malleable base is concocting its own versions of reality around delusional conspiracy theories, some of which Trump didn’t begin but hasn’t tried to stop.

The latest is the rise of “QAnon,” a dark internet fantasy that Trump’s crowds are now bringing into the real world. It’s time for a reality check.

QAnon is named for an imaginary deep-cover operative with “Q”-level security clearance who leaks secrets online. Among them: Trump isn’t really under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for possible collusion with Russia. That’s just their agreed-upon cover story as they work to free America from a secret globalist coup. Trump actually appointed Mueller himself to investigate Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and others for, among other things, running an international pedophilia ring. Russian President Vladimir Putin is in on it. Oh, there’s a “white rabbit” that people are supposed to “follow.”

As with the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory of 2016, alleging a Democrat-run child-sex ring in a D.C. pizza parlor, this one has started migrating off the internet. During “Pizzagate,” a man fired shots into the pizza parlor, intent on freeing the “children.” Now, people have been showing up at Trump rallies with signs and T-shirts referencing “Q.” In June, a man with two guns and an armored truck blocked a bridge near the Hoover Dam demanding information that “Q” had reported was being kept secret.

What immediately stands out about the wholly fabricated QAnon tale (aside from its apparent debt to “Alice in Wonderland”) is how it transforms Trump from being the subject of an investigation of a threat against America to being the hero who is working to stop a threat.

This isn’t just some random flat-Earth nuttery; this one is all about vindicating Trump. That may explain why the White House hasn’t aggressively tamped it down. When press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about it last week, she responded with only a generic statement that Trump condemns “any group that would incite violence.”

To which we would add: John F. Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald alone. There were six manned moon landings between 1969 and 1972. And any president who lets his fans spread deranged fantasies about his political enemies without pushing back is being as irresponsible as if he were spreading them himself.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Aug. 6

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