Scores of QAnon believers gathered in downtown Dallas on Tuesday afternoon in the hopes that John F. Kennedy Jr. would appear, heralding the reinstatement of Donald Trump as president.
The supporters first gathered Monday night in downtown Dallas. Around 1 p.m. Tuesday, there were several hundred people at Dealey Plaza, the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
Kennedy’s son died in a plane crash in 1999 at age 38, but some supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory believe that he has spent the past 22 years in hiding. The group believes John F. Kennedy Jr. will make his reappearance at the plaza before midnight Tuesday, Newsweek reported.
One post from a widely-followed QAnon social media account said that after being reinstated as president, Trump would step down. The post said JFK Jr. would then become president, Michael Flynn would be appointed as his vice president, and Trump would ultimately become the “king of kings,” according to Newsweek.
Experts who have been following QAnon since its inception said even they were surprised by the amount of people who showed up to Tuesday’s event.
”Frankly, I’m kind of shocked at how many people turned out for this,” said Jared Holt, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab who researches domestic extremism. “This wasn’t a widespread belief, even among QAnon followers.”
The conspiracy theory centers on fealty toward Trump, who QAnon adherents believe will dismantle a shadowy “Deep State,” which they believe is comprised of left-leaning politicians and celebrities who are pedophiles.
Law enforcement groups, including the FBI, have warned of the dangers of real-world violence from followers of the movement. QAnon followers have taken part in acts of violence, and were well-represented during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
QAnon is an umbrella group, where different segments of members don’t necessarily agree on the same ideologies, Holt said. He believes Tuesday’s events began on chat channels obsessed with numerology.
Posts in those channels indicated Kennedy Jr would reveal himself on Tuesday. Holt said he was uncertain why the crowd believes Kennedy Jr. would pick Dallas, the site of his father’s assassination, of all places to reveal himself.
JFK Jr. has been a popular figure among QAnon conspiracy theorists in the past. In 2019, some QAnon members believed he would make a return on July 4 as Trump’s vice president, Forbes reported. Another theory posits that JFK Jr. is “Q,” the group’s anonymous leader, according to Forbes.