After reciting the QAnon rallying cry onstage at a Thursday evening Trump rally in Cincinnati, self-described “former liberal” Brandon Straka told TPM Friday that he does not support Q and denied that he was referencing the QAnon conspiracy theory.
“I was not making any references to QAnon whatsoever or subtly hinting to that, and obviously I’m disappointed that the media has chosen to focus on this,” Straka told TPM.
Straka, a gay Manhattan hairdresser and aspiring actor who leads a group called Walk Away that aims to lead minorities away from the Democratic Party, denied any relationship with QAnon.
“You’re intentionally trying to force a narrative about QAnon where it doesn’t belong, instead of actually telling an interesting story about a gay man who is embraced by the Republican Party, leading a movement of minorities away from the Democratic Party,” he added.
Straka had told the crowd on Thursday that Trump “is not a president who panders to minorities because he needs them,” rather, he “serves minorities because he loves them. And he loves this country. We are all in this together.”
Straka concluded: “Where we go one, we go all.”
To the uninitiated, that last line may sound like a fairly anodyne, if ungrammatical, message of unity. But “where we go one, we go all” is also the main slogan of the QAnon conspiracy, which posits that President Trump is approaching the final stages of a decades-long mission to destroy pedophile rings at at the heart of the American elite.
Photos from the rally suggested that QAnon supporters were out in force, motivated in their belief that Trump secretly communicates with them via cryptic online postings.
Lots of Q shirts here at the rally in Cincinnati and Trump pre-rally speaker Brandon Straka just said "Where we go one, we go all." — a common rallying cry of the #QAnon movement. They even have an acronym for it. #WWG1GWA. pic.twitter.com/cOsAB3vLmC
— Marcus J. DiPaola (@marcusdipaola) August 1, 2019
Straka denied to TPM that he was referencing QAnon.
“The entirety of my speech was a message of unity and about unifying Americans,” he said.
“I cannot say in any stronger terms that I am not a Q supporter, I was not supporting the Q movement,” he told TPM.
His group – the Walk Away Campaign – heralds itself as a grassroots movement of minorities, LGBT community members, and others in their “walk to freedom” away from the Democratic Party.
Straka posted a video about his departure from the Democratic Party in May 2018 that went viral.
“Once upon a time, I was a liberal,” Straka announced in the six-minute video. “For years now, I have watched as the left has devolved into intolerant, inflexible, illogical, hateful, misguided, ill-informed, un-American, hypocritical, menacing, callous, ignorant, narrow-minded and, at times, blatantly fascistic behavior and rhetoric.”
Straka told TPM that he left the Democratic Party after watching a Youtube video which “proved” that mainstream media outlets had lied about a December 2015 incident in which Trump mocked a disabled reporter, saying it was “taken out of context.”
“That was a moment at a Trump rally that was taken out of context,” Straka said. “That’s literally what they’ve done to me today.”
After his video went viral, Straka became a regular on Fox.
Straka told TPM that he was invited to speak at the Cincinnati rally after meeting with Lara Trump in March.
The Trump daughter-in-law (wife of Eric) thought Straka’s Fox appearances were “fantastic,” and so he wound up before thousands in Cincinnati on Thursday.
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