Proponents of President Donald Trump repeated claims that Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was concealing an illness or might actually be dead in a rumor first initiated by the far-right conspiracy-theory group QAnon. Conspiracy theorists claimed that Democrats were covering up her supposed death to stop Trump from appointing another Supreme Court justice.
In December, Ginsburg had surgery to clear away cancerous lung growths and has not shown up in public since. QAnon attributed her public absence to a Democrat cover-up, The Daily Beast reported.
CNN reported on January 22 that Ginsburg “sounded strong and cheerful” when learning that the CNN-produced film about her life had been nominated for a best feature documentary Oscar.
On January 5, Q, the anonymous user or users behind QAnon, wrote on its website: “What ‘off-market’ drugs are being provided to [RBG] in order to sustain minimum daily function? What is the real medical diagnosis of [RBG]? Who is managing her care? Who is ‘really’ managing her care?”
Trump supporter Jacob Wohl, well-known for his supposed defrauding of investors and subsequent ban from futures trading, and who failed in an effort to smear special counsel Robert Mueller with a sexual assault hoax, has also been fueling the conspiracy. Wohl previously claimed that Ginsburg would step down on January 11. When this did not come to pass, he changed to pushing the claim that her death was being kept secret.
Conspiracy theorists also pounced on a Ginsburg obituary graphic that Fox News foolishly aired on January 21.
Meanwhile, ex – White House adviser Sebastian Gorka challenged her to show up at the State of the Union address on February 5, tweeting: “Still no sign. 6 days left until Ruth Bader Ginsberg [sic] has to make her official appearance at @realDonaldTrump’s State of the Union.”
Still no sign.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) January 31, 2019
Conspiracy theorists have been saying that attendance at the State of the Union is compulsory for justices, which it is not, and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi postponed the address as part of the Ginsburg cover-up.
The rumors picked up speed on social media, boosted by the hashtag #WheresRuth on QAnon-related accounts. Conservative actor James Woods tweeted the hashtag twice, which was then retweeted 13,000 times, writing: “Seriously though… #WheresRuth?”
The QAnon conspiracy theory first surfaced in 2017 with the claim that Trump was working to uncover a pedophile ring run by top Democrats in Washington. Proponents have since shown up at several high-profile Trump events and the conspiracy theory was also enhanced by TV personality Roseanne Barr via Twitter.
It has also been referred to by political figures such as Pam Patterson, the outgoing councilwoman in San Juan Capistrano, California, who pointed out the group in her farewell speech last month when she stated: “God bless America, God bless Q, and God bless San Juan Capistrano.”
In December, a SWAT team officer in Broward County, Florida, was demoted after meeting Vice President Mike Pence while donning a patch referring to QAnon. Sergeant Matt Patten greeted Pence at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, wearing a patch on his uniform with a black ‘Q’ and the phrase “Question the Narrative.”
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