State Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll) is no stranger to Twitter, often tweeting more than a half-dozen times a day.

Earlier this month, he used a hashtag — #WWG1WGA — that caught the eye of another Republican and one of his constituents, Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the CATO Institute and former member of the county’s charter review commission.

That hashtag has often been associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims Democrats and Hollywood elites are running a cabal of Satanic-worshipping, child-sex predators, and that President Donald Trump is fighting that cabal. #WWG1WGA stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All,” a rallying cry for the movement.

The theory has been widely debunked, but it has gained steam in recent years thanks, in part, to the popularity of social media.

When reached Wednesday to comment on the tweet, Cox said he’s been involved this week with President Trump’s team of lawyers in Philadelphia.

“Trump is hopeful and will lift us up like our motto, E Pluribus Unum — out of many One,” Cox wrote in a text. “We need unity and Biden is for locking us down, canceling school, proms and sports, and calling riots peaceful, while his corruption is now shockingly known. I support President Trump and General Flynn and that’s all my point was about.”

Cox’s tweet with the hashtag was posted Oct. 23. Later that day, Olson called attention to the post, noting on Twitter it was “associated ... with the QAnon madness.”

Cox responded in a tweet by calling Olson a “[Gov. Larry] Hogan GOP rhino pretender” who has a “hatred for all things American.”

Olson declined to offer great detail on why he flagged Cox’s tweet, but did say it was “remarkable” coming from one of the state’s delegates.

“Some of my differences with some elected officials are on the record … I think [the tweet] speaks for itself, and other people may take it further,” Olson said.

State Del. Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick and Carroll), chairman of the Frederick County delegation in Annapolis, wasn’t one of them. Pippy said he hadn’t researched the QAnon conspiracy theory and that he’s more focused on state and local issues.

“As far as tweeting and focusing on issues that may be pretty outside of what a state representative should be focusing on, I try to stay in my lane because there are enough issues at home in this district and in this state that I really need to be focusing on to make sure that Marylanders are moving forward,” Pippy said.

State Del. Ken Kerr (D-Frederick) also said he hadn’t seen the tweet, but he offered his concerns in the growing perpetuation of theories like this one.

“It bothers me in general that people are so desperate to make sense of difficult times that they will cling to bizarre notions of things that are secretly in someone else’s control,” Kerr said of theories like QAnon. “And if those things would stop, things would go back to normal.”

Steven Clark, chairman of the Republican Central Committee, declined to comment. Deborah Carter, chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Central Committee, only offered: “I don’t think anything Del. Cox tweets is worth responding to.”

Meanwhile, political scientist Todd Eberly had strong thoughts. He said the QAnon theory has gained popularity due to social media and political figures giving it “credence.”

Eberly, a professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, added it’s “dangerous” when those theories make their way to local and state politics because it brings those ideas closer to people and their communities.

“This is … sort of a dangerous and unhinged conspiracy theory, and it keeps growing. Basically, any sort of outlandish theory gets drawn into it,” Eberly said. “There’s a part of me that can’t even fathom that there’s a group of people who believe that prominent Democrats and Hollywood figures are involved in a Satanic cult that involves pedophilia. I mean, this is crazytown.”

He was also clear to note that any elected official who spreads the theory is making a mistake, and he called on the public to not automatically believe the theory.

“This is one of the side effects of the internet and social media,” Eberly said. “And in general, as human beings, we are really, really bad consumers of information.”

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter:

@Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(43) comments

TomWheatley

I started reading the article and the theme from Looney Tunes started playing in my head. How soon can the voters set him packing?

schaeferhund

2022, unless he's impeached by the General Assembly.

NewMarketParent

Wait.... Is this the same Dan Cox who doxxed those kids involved with the incident at the Frederick County Fair?

What's good for the goose...

NewMarketParent

Where is Reek to denounce this A--hat?

public-redux

A Hough protege, IIRC.

Piedmontgardener

The Delegate is a worthless, lying, grandstanding clown who has no place in public service. End his service when the time comes, he's embarassed our state.

KellyAlzan

Where is CD and GH to cry about you calling an elected official names!

BornToHula2

Do we have to wait 2 years to get vote this embarrassment out?

Dwasserba

"Deborah Carter, chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Central Committee, only offered: 'I don’t think anything Del. Cox tweets is worth responding to.”' [thumbup]

Hayduke2

Cox is an embarrassment on so many levels. He needs to be gone.

BornToHula2

[thumbup]

KellyAlzan

Where is CD and GH to complain about name calling of an elected official!

Greg F

The whole idea of things like this being put forth is a culmination of policies that have, for decades, been aimed squarely at decimating public schools and creating a population of people who have zero ability to think critically. Those have HEAVILY been republican/conservative polices so that they can push dollars to charter schools that have less oversight and can input religious aspects into education that contradict sciences over creationism, that allow for revisionist texts to be inserted that glorify or uphold myths vs facts about historical periods, including the Civil War, and that ignore many parts of history they just don't want out or that they want us to forget. We end up with holocaust deniers, omissions of entire populations (Native Americans, Blacks, Latino), and glorification and misrepresentation of important events (Civil War as a prime example). Betsy DeVoss is the crown on the effort to damage schools and universities, screwing student loan holders and putting forth some of the worst policies in the history of education. Now we have this goon continuing on with schlepping of Qanon garbage, with his and Trumpydumb's followers lapping it up like a cat laps milk. These are the sorts that need to be recalled, voted out, or to be forced to step down and out. His idiotic voice needs to be overwhelmed with voices of reason and knowledge that wipe away his stupidity and its effect on the county.

DickD

Great comment, Greg![thumbup]

Fredginrickey

[thumbup]

NewMarketParent

@Greg F

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

mrnatural1

Well said Greg. [thumbup][thumbup]

chris

"Pippy said he hadn’t researched the QAnon conspiracy theory..." This kind of response is almost as bad as Cox's dreck. Weak, transparently evasive, and does nothing to counter the madness. Is it that hard to say "QAnon is a bunch of dangerous garbage."?

Comment deleted.
KellyAlzan

Also known as deplorables

schaeferhund

I have to disagree. I think Delegate Pippy is an exemplary representative. He essentially said what he thought about QAnon: "As far as tweeting and focusing on issues that may be pretty outside of what a state representative should be focusing on, I try to stay in my lane, because there are enough issues at home in this district and in this state that I really need to be focusing on to make sure that Marylanders are moving forward."

*That* is the job. I can vouch Mr. Pippy is indeed focused on his job. He's the only delegate who comes to our remote little town, walks the length of the town with the mayor, and stays connected to the people he represents. He uses his position to do one thing, advance the interests if District 4 in Annapolis. Meanwhile, Cox and Hough of off in Trumplandia. It is a sad day, though, when someone merely doing one's job is an outlier. But I'm giving credit where credit is due.

HappySeller2014

Every second Cox tweets and retweets and spends time with Trump's lawyers in Philly is another second he ignores his family, his neighbors, his friends and his church. Wise men realize you cannot get time back and must cherish every second. It is also a second he ignores the people of Frederick and Carroll Counties.

With his polarizing status in the state legislature, his constituents are basically twisting in the wind. Rather than legislating for us, helping us, supporting us, advocating for us, building coaltions and gathering support for us, and trying to better all of our lots in life, he tweets and retweets.

Those unwilling to denounce, or simply demur to all of this, are complicit in all this nonsense. Those who support this, and parade around this, need to take a good look inwards and ask themselves, why?

chris

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Fredginrickey

[thumbup][thumbup]

NewMarketParent

@HappySeller2014

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

mrnatural1

Exactly. [thumbup][thumbup]

Jim Hartley

If you are a Republican you have to denounce this lunacy. By your silence you are complicit.

bnick467

"If you are a DECENT HUMAN BEING you have to denounce this lunacy. By your silence you are complicit."

I fixed your statement.

Greg F

I haven’t met a decent Republican that voted for trump or someone that spouted this sort of nonsense. The shoe fits.

threecents

Jim[thumbup]

DickD

Looking at these crazy statements of Cox,it's easy to understand the reason so much division of our poulattion. Cox sh be ashamed of himself.

senorris

Frederick certainly deserves better

ginaria

Absolutely. Cox blocked me on Twitter months ago. He apparently doesn't like people asking questions.

NewMarketParent

@ginaria

Because questions are the slipper slope to push back. Have you never heard of "Operation Let Them Speak". It sinks Republican ships very frequently.

shiftless88

This is the sad thing; that rhetoric like his has become normalized. I get that people have political differences but he is just blathering about unrelated things trying to get as many insults into one text as he possibly can. Where did civility go?

threecents

QAnon, Hunter's laptop, and other Republican conspiracy theories have grown out of America's psychotic break with reality, which began with Trump's official acceptance of fake news and alternative facts.

threecents

Cox wants to make a career out of exploiting the psychosis that Trump represents.

BigAl

This nazi continues to hide behind the mantle of the religious right as tries to turn America into Giles’s. We are on to him

public-redux

Gile’s? Is that auto-corrupt for Gilead?

bnick467

No, three, it started long before Trump entered the conversation. It started with Reagan when he ended the Fairness Doctrine and Equal Time Rule. That act allowed the proliferation of extreme right wing media like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. They've spent the last 40 years peddling their extremist conspiracy theories.

TinaS

I agree with you except you only mentioned the extreme right-wing "media" and didn't mention the pseudo-news websites, like the 1,300 run by Brian Timpone or the Dorr brothers who rant on about gun rights and outright lie. Yes, both sides of the political spectrum are using these methods but the right-wing is far more dominant. Trump has given them credence, which is the biggest problem Trump has caused.

Hayduke2

Tina - [thumbup][thumbup]

threecents

Bnick[thumbup][thumbup]

TomWheatley

The Equal Time rule was primarily for broadcast media at the time. With the explosion of online media, not really sure what we can do to control things. Yes, totally out of hand.

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