Dan Scavino, in his position as former President Donald Trump’s social media manager, has been winking and nodding at QAnon believers for a long time, posting content he knew would be catnip for the conspiracy movement.
Those dog whistles had gone unnoticed by most people–but not by everyone.
On Monday night, Rep. Liz Cheney, vice-chair of the Jan. 6 Committee, said that one of the topics the committee is seeking to speak to Scavino about is QAnon.
“The Committee has many questions for Mr. Scavino about his political social media work for President Trump, including his interactions with an online forum called ‘The Donald’ and with QAnon, a bizarre and dangerous cult.”
Moments after Cheney made those comments, as if to prove her point, Scavino updated his account on Trump’s Truth Social network with a post that was an exact copy of something the anonymous leader of QAnon posted exactly two years before.
Unsurprisingly, QAnon channels lit up when Scavino posted the image on Monday night, pointing out that the post also coincided with a “Q Drop” in which Q referenced a new social media platform.
Cheney made the comments moments before the committee unanimously voted to recommend that Scavino—along with former Trump aide Peter Navarro—be held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with subpoenas.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said the pair “played key roles in the ex-president's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.” Scavino has refused to sit for any interviews or share documents with the committee since he was subpoenaed last September.
For years, QAnon influencers and decoders have been using Scavino’s social media content as some sort of cipher, believing that he was using it to send them messages directly from the former president.
What makes this different from most of the conspiracy movement’s delusions is that Scavino appears to have been doing exactly what QAnon believes he was doing.
Back in 2018, when Scavino posted about how Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential race was a major blow for her backers, the message was immediately picked up by influential QAnon accounts, who took it as tacit support for their narrative that Clinton was working with the “deep state.”
In June 2020, Scavino posted a clip of a video showing a lightning strike hitting Washington, D.C. The video, which originally came from WUSA, was edited by Scavino before he posted it to highlight what appears to be the lightning making the shape of a Q.
Scavino’s deceptively edited clip has been viewed 1.6 million times and QAnon believers reacted as you’d expect, given their belief that a “storm” is coming to take out their enemies.
He also posted a “pro-American, Christian” music video in May 2020 that includes references to numerous QAnon phrases, including “where we go one we go all’, “dark to light,” “mockingbird,” and “clowns.”
And it wasn’t just Twitter. On Facebook, Scavino posted an image that was sent to him by a QAnon supporter that includes the letter Q.
And Scavino’s efforts even extended to using the Trump’s hugely influential Twitter account, which Scavino himself sometimes managed.
When Scavino posted a meme of Trump featuring the phrase “nothing can stop what is coming,” which was widely used in QAnon communities, Trump’s account, which had over 80 million followers, retweeted the post and said: “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me.”
The Jan. 6 committee may have been alerted to Scavino’s links to the QAnon community, by Ron Filipkowski, a former Marine and federal prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney in Florida, and who closely monitors Trump supporters’ activity via his hugely popular Twitter account.
“When I met with the J6 Committee, I told them about QAnon-connected activity I had seen for several months in 2020 from Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino, and gave them specific examples,” Filipkowski tweeted on Monday night. “It was interesting to hear Liz Cheney tonight say they have concluded that was true.”
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