On the afternoon of May 31, President Trump retweeted a post from the now-deleted account of Sean Cordicon, a QAnon conspiracy theorist with an internet presence dedicated to QAnon references and religious devotional content.
Cordicon’s YouTube videos open with a reference to “Q” and his Instagram page amplifies QAnon ideas. Cordicon also has a website called seancordicon.com. The heading on the website reads, “The Lord is leading us all / Good v Evil / Q.” On the site, Cordicon writes, “I’ve been in this fight for truth my entire life. Something BIG outside of our realm of understanding is happening to ALL of us & at all times.” Cordicon’s website includes links to other QAnon sites, where a screenshot of the original tweet was uploaded shortly after Trump’s retweet with the captions “Trolling is fun! / Q” and “Oh, shit.”
The tweet reads, “We knew this moment would arrive. / We are the calm before, during & after the storm. / ‘If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we will have to face the final demand — the ultimatum. And what then?’ / –Reagan”
The quote comes from a 1964 Ronald Reagan speech titled “A Time for Choosing.” The speech was given in Los Angeles on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater, and it’s credited with launching Reagan’s political career. In response to Cordicon’s tweet, Trump captioned his retweet with a vague, one-word response: “STRENGTH!” It’s difficult to know Trump’s exact meaning.
The screenshot of the tweet also includes the top half of an image of a black family looking at an American flag outside a home. The man has his hands on the shaft of the flag pole, but it’s unclear what action he is taking or the meaning of the image given the ongoing protests for racial justice around the country this week. Praying Medic, another QAnon conspiracy theorist with nearly 350,000 followers on Twitter published a video that they claim was in Cordicon’s tweet. The video includes the shot of the black family and rings like a campaign ad for Trump.
— Praying Medic (@prayingmedic) May 31, 2020
Cordicon’s Tweet References ‘the Storm’, a Dog Whistle in the QAnon Community
The QAnon conspiracy first appeared on the online message board 4chan in 2017. To paraphrase from the Atlantic’s “QAnon Is a New American Religion,” the conspiracy alleges that a cabal of global elites who commit unspeakable crimes benefit from a “deep state” of political and military agents that abuses its considerable influence. Conspiracy theorists believe that Donald Trump is a hero and mastermind working to destroy the deep state and punish these elites for their crimes. These ideas originate in part from an anonymous figure called “Q” who periodically leaves clues about the conspiracy on the internet.
According to Newsweek, “the storm” is another term to describe the QAnon conspiracy movement. The storm typically alludes to a storm of information and, presumably, of action that will prove the conspiracy true and punish those who have benefited from the deep state. In 2018, Trump made a cryptic remark about the calm before the storm, raising questions about Trump’s meaning given the rising popularity of the QAnon conspiracy and its various dog whistles.