Vice President Pence was greeted by a SWAT team when he landed Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—which isn't so unusual. What stands out is that one of the cops wore a patch promoting the #QAnon conspiracy theory, the Miami New Times reports. For the uninitiated, #QAnon argues that President Trump and Robert Mueller are secret allies pursuing a ring of pedophiles including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It originated on the online forum 4chan, where it's supported by someone dubbed "Q," who claims to be a top-ranking US military officer. But NBC News reports that "Q" is really two 4chan moderators and "a small-time YouTube video creator" who plucked the theory from message-board obscurity and turned it into a thing.
That thing spread to Reddit and then YouTube, where Tracy Diaz—one of the 4chan moderators—posts videos that attract tens of thousands of subscribers, millions of hits, and at least some income. "Because I cover Q, I got an audience," admits Diaz. Note that 4chan is also the originator of Pizzagate, and that Reddit banned several QAnon-associated threads in September after violent threats were found in Subreddits including threats to assassinate Hillary Clinton. All things considered, it's no surprise that Pence has deleted a tweeted image of him with the SWAT members in Florida, per CNN. "The patch is not authorized by BSO," says a Broward Sheriff's Office rep. "This matter will be addressed immediately." (Meanwhile, Sandy Hook parents are ready for their legal battle with conspiracy peddler Alex Jones.)