Stages of defeat: Die-hard Trump supporters range from being deflated over Biden's inauguration to believing their twice-impeached leader will be running the government as a shadow president for the next 4 years

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Haven Orecchio-Egresitz
·5 min read
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  • Die-hard Trump fans are emotional as their plot to keep him in office fails.

  • With Joe Biden was inaugurated, some pro-Trump extremists are giving up hope of a second term.

  • The inauguration also prompted what might be the beginning of the end for some conspiracy groups.

  • Others, though, continue to hold fast to their delusions.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should have put an end to the grip that Trump tried to maintain on the White House, and it did. But some more extreme supporters continue to lean into delusions about how the twice-impeached Queens native could somehow retain power.

On the QAnon chatroom of the social media app Telegram, posters continue to believe the oath of office Biden took still didn't seal the deal to his presidency.

Instead, admins urged followers to continue to keep the faith that a Democrat will not serve as the 46th President of the United States.

"Just because Trump is leaving office for now does not follow Biden will be President," a post on the page, with nearly 30,ooo subscribers, said. "The military is sorting through the mess and a new president will be a month or so away."

Followers of QAnon and some other far-right groups believed Wednesday would be the "Great Awakening."

Some forecasted that when Donald Trump boarded Air Force One to leave the White House, Americans would be alerted by the Emergency Broadcast System of his intent to remain in power and that martial law would be enacted in cities run by Democrats.

They believed Democratic leaders would be arrested for running a global sex-trafficking ring - the myth that fuels their group - and those arrests would secure Trump's second term in office.

But when their phones didn't buzz at noon with the news of mass arrests or a successful coup, some believers tried to tweak their theory so the cult-like organization could continue despite the collapse of their failed prophecy.

On Wednesday morning, admins to QAnon chats on Telegram continued to peddle nonsense to followers, promising that Biden would not be inaugurated.

Grasping at signs of a coming win, they celebrated seeing 17 flags on the stage of Trump's farewell speech, and the news that Biden would sign 17 executive orders when he entered the White House.

They took the coincidences as a nod to QAnon, as Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet.

Another QAnon theory circulating the internet is that Trump will continue to lead the country as a "Shadow President" for the next four years. It's unclear how much of a following this concept has.

Perhaps the most jarring performance of mental gymnastics was spewed by the Q supporters who shared a theory that the newly-elected Democratic President Joe Biden has actually been part of QAnon all along, and that he would be the one to bring down the mythical Democrat-lead sex-trafficking ring. The initial influencer who shared the theory to Telegram started walking it back after she came under attack.

There is no truth to the beliefs espoused by the QAnon conspiracy theory and its followers.

capitol police
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty

Some Trump supporters feel duped and may be giving up hope

Just as small groups of doomsday cult loyalists will continue to remain followers even after their prophesied apocalypse comes and goes, there is no doubt that some conspiracy theorists will try to keep the idea of a second Trump term alive.

But not all followers are playing along. Some men and women are left feeling devastated by their loss, and others feel duped by the group they pledged themselves to.

Photos and videos of Trump supporters crying over the Biden inauguration have been shared to Twitter.

In Albany, New York, a Trump supporter showed up to protest at the state capitol, Spectrum News reporter Morgan Mckay Tweeted. He was the only one there.

Other QAnon extremists, including some QAnon followers, are turning their back on Trump, who has - until now - been seen as a God-like figure among some groups.

The longtime leader of the QAnon's online platform 8kun has thrown in the towel and urged followers to move on.

Just after 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, as Biden took his oath, Ron Watkins posted to Telegram that QAnon followers have a responsibility to respect the US Constitution, "regardless of whether or not we agree with the specifics of details regarding officials who are sworn in."

Watkins was a top voice for the voter-fraud conspiracy theories.

"We gave it our all," he wrote. "Now we need to go back to our lives as best we are able."

Even members of the Proud Boys - an international all-male nationalist organization that has largely existed to honor Trump as a hero to "Western" culture - are starting to turn their backs on him.

On Wednesday, Nick Ochs, the leader of the Hawaii Proud Boys chapter, posted to his Telegram channel that Trump was a failure, whose presidency ended "almost exclusively due to his own mistakes."

Ochs has been a die-hard Trump supporter who was arrested for his role in storming the Capitol with other rioters on January 6.

"How should we remember Trump? As the one president that represented middle America, or as a failure," Ochs wrote. "He was both of these things of course. But mostly, he was a failure."

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