Dan Scavino, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Director of Social Media, addresses the Republican National Committee’s virtual convention on Aug. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Committee Arrangements Committee National Republican 2020 via Getty Images)
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Dan Scavino, as former President Donald Trump’s social media manager, winks and nods at long-time QAnon believers, posting content he knows is catnip for the conspiracy movement.
These 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 one of the topics the committee is looking to talk 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 the comments, as if to prove his point, Scavino updated his account on Trump’s Truth social network with a post that was an exact copy of something the anonymous QAnon leader had. released exactly two years ago.
Unsurprisingly, QAnon channels went viral when Scavino posted the image Monday night, pointing out that the post also coincided with a “Q Drop” in which Q referred to a new social media platform.
Cheney made the comments moments before the committee voted unanimously to recommend that Scavino — along with former Trump aide Peter Navarro — be held in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the subpoenas.
Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said the duo “played a key role in the ex-president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.” Scavino has refused to appear for interviews or share documents with the committee since being subpoenaed last September.
For years, QAnon influencers and set-top boxes used Scavino’s social media content as a kind of cipher, believing he was using it to message them directly from the former president.
What makes this different from most delusions in the conspiracy movement is that Scavino appears to have done exactly what QAnon thinks he was doing.
In 2018, when Scavino posted about Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the presidential race being a blow to her supporters, the post 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 striking Washington, D.C. The video, which originally came from WUSA, was edited by Scavino before posting to highlight what appears be lightning forming the shape of a Q.
Scavino’s deceptively edited clip has been viewed 1.6 million times and QAnon believers have reacted as one would expect, given their belief that a “storm” is coming to wipe out their enemies.
He also released a “pro-American, Christian” music video in May 2020 that includes references to many QAnon phrases, including “where we go one, we all go,” “dark to light,” “mockingbird,” and “ clowns”.
And it wasn’t just Twitter. On Facebook, Scavino posted an image sent to him by a QAnon supporter that includes the letter Q.
And Scavino’s efforts even extended to using Trump’s hugely influential Twitter account, which Scavino himself sometimes managed.
When Scavino posted a Trump meme containing the phrase “nothing can stop what’s happening,” which was widely used in QAnon communities, Trump’s account, which has more than 80 million followers, retweeted the message and said: “Who knows what that means, but it sounds good to me.
The Jan. 6 committee may have been alerted to Scavino’s ties to the QAnon community, by Ron Filipkowski, a former Navy and federal prosecutor who is now a criminal defense attorney in Florida, and who is closely monitoring the activity by Trump supporters via his hugely popular Twitter. Account.
“When I met with the J6 Committee, I told them about the QAnon-related activity I had seen for several months in 2020 from Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, and gave them specific examples.” , tweeted Filipkowski on Monday evening. “It was interesting to hear Liz Cheney tonight say that they concluded that was true.”
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