Residents of Washington city wonder if QAnon has captured his mayor


“Why do you publicly support Qion,” two callers asked this week during the Mayor’s monthly “Coffee with Mayors” community broadcast radio broadcast.

“What does the Punish symbol mean to you?” Another caller was asked, referring to the comic book’s antihero icon, which has been adopted by QAnon’s followers. “Are you worried that the publicity received as a result of your stand on QAnon will harm our reputation?”

Mayor William Armacost responded to each question on his radio program calmly, patiently, and as an apology about his growing internet attention with a growing mayor who called the conspiracy theory a “truth movement.” .

“I never said publicly that I support it,” Armacost said, referring to Qion. “I am an information seeker. I should have kept my personal feelings to myself. I am here to talk about our beautiful city of Sequim.”

But a large number of Sequim residents have organized a petition to reinstate the city manager, who resigned earlier this month. On May 6, he calls the mayor a formidable threat after several suspected QAnon followers were arrested for their alleged roles in the US Capitol Rebellion.

“The people who led the Capitol Rebellion were Q leaders,” said Shenna Younger, a Sequim resident who heads the Sequim Good Governance League. “It’s not just a conspiracy theory. It’s serious.”

‘QAnon is a true movement’

Sequim’s city council is around a salaried city manager who serves as chief executive. This means that Armcast does not have the power allocated to most American mayors.

Most Sequim residents barely paid attention to Armacost until last August, when they aired a surprise statement during “Coffee with Mayor”.

When asked about QAnon, Meyer replied, “QAnon is a truth movement that encourages you to think for yourself. If you remove Q from that equation, it will be about humanity, truth, freedom, and children.” And to fight other people is patriotic from all over the world. Human trafficking. “

Armacost then encouraged his listeners to watch a QAnon video filled with conspiracy theories about the devil-worshiping, child sex-trafficking group that sought to eliminate Donald Trump as part of an “intense state” Was made in

The video echoes the unfounded claims promoted by QAnon. Since its origins, QAnon has gone from the deepest corners of the Internet as a conspiracy theory to elections, global financial systems, and baseless theories about human trafficking.

Soon after Armacost’s comments about QAnon, the city’s manager, Charlie Bush, issued a press release with Armacost. Bush said the “Coffee with Mayor” forum is designed to discuss Sequim’s special issues. And he noted how erratic the national comments were to the mayor. In the same release, Meyer called his decision to answer QAnon’s question “inappropriate”.

Earlier this month, the city council approved Bush’s abrupt resignation following a surprise proposal from the Armcoast. The resignation of the popular city manager worried Sequin residents, who believe that the public conflict over Qiyeon led to Bush’s departure.

Bush told CNN that he would not comment on his departure.

In Thursday’s “Coffee with Mayor” broadcast, residents like Karen Hogan called to ask for clarification.

“We have philosophical differences between the city council and the city manager,” Armacost said.

“What are those differences?” Hogan called back.

“I’m not at liberty to reveal them to people,” Armacost said. “There are a lot of differences between us, and we’ll leave it at that.”

In the broadcast of the mayor, two callers asked, “Why do you publicly support Qion?”

“I never said publicly that I support it,” Armacost said. “I’m an information seeker and I should have kept my personal feelings on myself.”

Residents who formed the Sequim Good Governance League disputed the mayor’s defense.

Opponents of Armacost pointed to the mayor’s personal Facebook page, where Armacost has shared several posts of dissolution and the phrase “WWG1WGA,” cries a rally that Qion supporters have adopted, meaning “where We are one, we all go. “

They also say that the mayor has worn a lapel pin at virtual city council meetings this year. The pin, which is clearly visible in recorded city council meetings, is a skull matching the Punish symbol favored by QAnon believers. The mayor says the pin is in support of law enforcement.

Chhoti says that in just two weeks, 500 people have joined the Sequim Good Governance League. He fears that the mayor’s sign of the city manager’s departure may further affect the city.

“People are awake now,” Small said. “They want to participate, and they want to join.”

Rick Perdue, who recently moved to Sequim from the East Coast, said he was surprised to hear about the mayor of his new city, which he described as liberal and welcoming.

“I didn’t think we would have such a nutcase. He should represent the values ​​of the community, not his crazy right-wing Qence conspiracy stuff.”

Purdue states that Sequim is in Clallam County, a Belvester County that has elected the winning president in every election since 1980. The county says Perdew represents the country’s political sentiment, which is why he is concerned with the mayor’s words.

“There are many people who believe so,” Perdue said. “Now look at the stuff going on in Congress. We are certainly not unique in being high level people who follow the information of the QAnon conspiracy.”

‘I also read fake news’

On Thursday, CNN contacted Armacost outside the radio station after its program. For 15 minutes the mayor calmly and politely answered the questions.

When he quoted what he had previously said on his radio program, calling the conspiracy theory a “truth movement”, Armacost said, “What I say is to look for truth as a patriot and an American citizen.” There is opportunity. It comes through analysis and research. People need to make up their mind to make their own homework. “

The mayor said he regretted watching the Qion video to residents, but he did not approve of the video’s external content. Without prompting, the mayor then turned the conversation to human trafficking. One of the tenets of the promoted QAnon conspiracy is that members of the “deep state” engage in trafficking.

“I think if you take the time to do research, there are many similarities you can read that have historically occurred in the books of things,” Armacost said. “Human trafficking is one of them. We have a great opportunity to seek out more people and try and save them and reclaim a normal life.”

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Asked if he is a Qion follower, Mayer said, “I entertain all the resources. I read fake news, even to see if there is a fabric, a thread that contains the truth.” is.”

Armacost says it can never attempt to demolish a building like the American Capitol or harm or obstruct a public official. But he questioned whether Qiayon beliefs fueled some of the Capitol rebels, despite the video showing the 6 January rioters wearing cue shirts and carrying cue signs as they disbanded the Capitol.

Armacost said, “I’ve seen a lot of videos, which appear in scenarios. What’s going on. I have no way to confirm that it was one group vs. another.” “Just because the camera angle showed this view, it might not have shown another angle that shows a completely different landscape. I’m not refuting that, but I’m not assuming that this frame that That’s what I saw on the clip. ” Truth vs. they did not show all the information. “

The mayor finally states that he believes that Sequim has no influence on his non-partisan work as mayor.

Regarding whether he would condemn QAnon as the concerned Sequim residents asked him to do, Meyer said, “I’m not supporting it. I’m not in this position … I’m a younger man who is a Runs a small business. ” A small town. I do not have the right to condemn or promote.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Sequim residents have organized a petition to oust Mayor William Armacost. He has organized a petition to reinstate the city manager.

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