Friday, September 14, 2018

Orange County GOP leader defends QAnon posts that were 'designed to stimulate conversation'

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2018 at 1:12 PM

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The Orange County Republican Party has turned into a slow-burning dumpster fire over the past couple of weeks – and they just continue heaping more and more trash onto the pile.

First, just nine days ago, Orange County Republican committeewoman Kathy Gibson was hit with bipartisan calls for her resignation over racially charged Facebook posts. Now, county Republican Executive Committee vice chair Lou Marin is catching flak for his own Facebook posts regarding QAnon, the controversial, hard right-leaning Internet conspiracy group.

(If you need an example of their batshittery, the group believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller is actually working with President Donald Trump to expose Democrats running child sex rings.)

In other words, QAnon is a twice-removed cousin of the Pizzagate conspiracy born of Reddit and the 2016 presidential campaign, made up of a collective of tinfoil hat-wearing Internet trolls and pseudo-detectives.



The watchdog organization Media Matters for America was the first to report on Marin's interaction in the private Facebook group called Florida Republicans United, where Marin's listed as an administrator, Thursday evening. Gibson, the website reports, is also listed as an administrator.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday morning that Marin responded to requests for comment by saying that the posts were intended to start a dialogue, and not to promote any views. According to the Media Matters for America, Marin shared several posts mentioning QAnon, one of which included this headline, which Marin reportedly posted twice: "Treason: QAnon exposes Obama/Hillary 16-year coup d-etat plan."

Not even two months after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Marin also reportedly posted on his personal Facebook page and on Twitter a QAnon article that raised this question in the caption he provided: "Does this stunning email indicate Parkland shooter was just another FALSE FLAG designed to take YOUR guns?" Marin wrote. ("False flag" is conspiracy theorist code for a government-staged crisis. The term actually originates from naval warfare and is a legitimate military tactic.)

Other controversial posts shared by Marin include a story claiming the innocence of the man charged with driving his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer in the process, during the August 2017 Unite the Right protest and counter-protest in Charlottesville; and a story claiming Hillary Clinton was involved in the murder of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, whose death is believed to have been a robbery gone wrong but is still under investigation.

Media Matters for America also reported that eight other Florida Republicans are members of the Florida Republicans United group: State Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, who's running for lieutenant governor on the same ticket as U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis; state Rep. Carlos Curbelo; state Attorney General Pam Bondi; state Sens. Aaron Bean, Dennis Baxley and Dorothy Hukill; and Virginia Fuller and Joe Kaufman, both of whom are running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Orlando Weekly has reached out to Marin for additional comment and will update this story if and when he responds. 

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