As further evidence that we’re all trapped in an increasingly surreal waking nightmare, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a photo-op on Friday of himself with a sheriff’s deputy whose uniform prominently sported a patch for QAnon, the elaborate, pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theory with 4chan roots.
The tweet has since been deleted.
Before it was scrubbed from Twitter, the tweet was originally shared Friday from the official White House account for the vice president, which later re-posted similar images of the vice president and local law enforcement officials sans the deputy with the QAnon patch.
Today, Mike Pence posted a photo on Twitter with a Flordia law enforcement officer wearing a QAnon patch for sale on Amazon pic.twitter.com/vnOkk1l5Ee
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) November 30, 2018
The post coincided with the vice president’s visit to Florida, and both the original and deleted photos showed the vice president posing with deputies. BuzzFeed News reported Friday that the original post was taken down “minutes” after the outlet contacted both the office of the vice president as well as the White House for comment about the image. Per BuzzFeed News:
An official at the Vice President’s Office told BuzzFeed News the image was deleted from Pence’s account after the patch was pointed out to staff. The official added that the image was taken down so as not to draw attention to the baseless conspiracy theory.
QAnon refers to a Pizzagate-like conspiracy theory that centres around a purported U.S. government official with high-level security clearance identified as “Q.” QAnon is a sprawling rabbit hole of bizarre and baseless claims that deal in everything from a child sex trafficking ring to government-directed lasers that masquerade as natural disasters.
Several outlets have identified the deputy sporting the patch as a distinguished veteran with the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Veda Coleman-Wright, a spokesperson for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, told the Miami New Times that the patch was “not authorised” and that the “matter [would] be addressed immediately.”
What a world we live in.