CPAC Is Coming to Dallas This Weekend. Will QAnon Be on the Program?

QAnon acolytes gather outside the Omni Dallas Hotel for Q Con over Memorial Day Weekend.
QAnon acolytes gather outside the Omni Dallas Hotel for Q Con over Memorial Day Weekend. Jacob Vaughn
At the last Conservative Political Action Conference, Republicans went full-on QAnon, with some speakers promoting election fraud conspiracies and calling on authorities to investigate Democrat-run cannibalistic pedophile rings. There’s no evidence of either.

QAnon’s place in the GOP is less certain these days. Some members, including the party’s top dog, former President Donald Trump, seem to be distancing themselves from the conspiracy theory, while others continue to embrace it, or at least some facets of it.

CPAC is coming to Dallas this weekend, and the list of speakers is a mixed bag of conservatives with and without connections to the QAnon conspiracy theory. July 9-11, conservatives will be at Dallas’ Hilton Anatole hotel, where the American Conservative Union is holding "America UnCanceled."

The conspiracy theory revolves around the idea that the so-called “deep state” is controlled by pedophile Hollywood elites and powerful Democratic politicians, all of whom are supposedly acting against the former president. Trump, they say, is the only one who can stop the mass child sex-trafficking plot.

At a recent Trump rally in Ohio, followers of the conspiracy theory were reportedly told by security that Q clothes weren’t allowed. Asked whether Q clothes would be allowed at their event, Dallas CPAC organizers didn't reply by publication time.

Trump previously refused to disavow QAnon, saying he didn’t know much about the conspiracy theory. During a televised town hall in November, Trump said: “I do know [QAnon followers] are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.”

Some followers saw his comments as an endorsement of the theory, according to The Washington Post. Now, the former president is the big ticket item at Dallas' CPAC this weekend.

Then, there’s the likes of Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, who was recently announced as a CPAC speaker. In May, Gohmert spoke at the QAnon-linked For God & Country Patriot Roundup in Dallas.

“I do know [QAnon followers] are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.” – Former President Donald Trump

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But Gohmert isn’t the only CPAC speaker with a history of flirting with QAnon (or other baseless conspiracy theories).

Maj Toure, founder of the nonprofit Black Guns Matter, is set to speak at CPAC this weekend. In March, Toure called COVID-19 a hoax during an interview on Fox. The month before, he ran a panel at CPAC’s annual conference, during which Angela Stanton-King, a former congressional candidate, spoke positively of QAnon and asked law enforcement to investigate the alleged pedophile cabal.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who will also be speaking at CPAC, in the past has denied being a follower of QAnon, but said she hopes the conspiracy theory is real, according to Business Insider.

Other Q connections to CPAC speakers are less clear.

Last month, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who will also speak at CPAC, told reporters the state declined to take in unaccompanied minors over concerns about the human trafficking of children.

Richard Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence, another CPAC speaker, shared a post last year by popular QAnon influencer Jordan Sather, who spoke at Dallas’ QAnon Convention.

Then, you have speakers like Nigel Farage whose current employer is owned in-part by QAnon believer John Mappin. Mappin chairs the Dutch Green Business Group, which aims to plant trees to offset carob dioxide emissions.

Last year, Mappin flew a Q flag at his Camelot Castle hotel in Tintagel, Cornwall, according to The Guardian. Additionally, Farage lost nearly 50,000 followers after Twitter tried to rid itself of Q content. That should give you some idea of the audience he may attract.

Whether Q is on the menu or not, the event is sure to pull in a hefty profit. Students can get into the conference for $50. General admission costs $275, and the event’s website advertises $15,000 “platinum” tickets, which include lounge access and other amenities.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn