Patriots Arise: Multiple GOP Candidates Appeared at a QAnon Conference

A gathering of far-right conspiracy theorists took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, last weekend for an event called “Patriots Arise.” Organized by QAnon conspiracy theorists Alan and Francine Fosdick, the two-day conference featured appearances by several Republican candidates for office, including Pennsylvania GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is currently running for governor, Teddy Daniels, who is running for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania; Rick Bowers, who is running for state Senate in Maryland; and Dan Cox, who is running for governor in Maryland. Kathy Barnette, who is running for the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, was originally listed as being scheduled to attend but did not appear, though neo-Confederate Michael Peroutka, who is running for attorney general in Maryland, did make a surprise appearance.

Other speakers included Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis and current Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington.

Given that the event was organized by and featured a lineup full of QAnon conspiracy theorists, it was no surprise that the entire event was steeped in QAnon and other conspiracy theories right from the very start. In opening the conference Friday morning, Francine Fosdick welcomed attendees with a 6-minute promo video featuring QAnon imagery, words, and symbolism.

Scott McKay, a QAnon conspiracy theorist known as “The Patriot Streetfighter,” kept the theme going as the event’s very first speaker, when he once again threatened to kill those he believes to be responsible for “child satanic trafficking and abuse of children.”

McKay was followed by Matt Dentino, who spread similar conspiracy theories and wept over “the sex trafficking cabal where they make millions of dollars off of harvesting kids.”

Following Dentino’s remarks, organizers played a music video Dentino produced called “Round ‘Em Up” that is essentially the entire QAnon conspiracy theory put into song form.

Also speaking on Friday was Bobby Lawrence, who delivered a lengthy speech mixing sovereign citizen nonsense with satanic birthing conspiracies that was so utterly bizarre even by QAnon standards that we are at a loss to even explain what he was talking about.

Later, event organizer Francine Fosdick sat down with fellow QAnon conspiracy theorist Sheila Holm for a discussion about how the government worships Lucifer and is controlled by “The Order of Paladin,” “The Wiccan Order of Knighthood,” and the New World Order.

Friday night closed out with Elizabeth Eads, who took the stage to spread conspiracy theories about COVID-19, claiming that vaccines are “all part of turning you into an AI transhuman.”

On Saturday, Teddy Daniels, a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania, complained that he often gets accused of being “uncivil,” but he defended himself by insisting that the right can only be civil with the left once “we beat the crap out of them”: “We will be civil on our terms, not theirs.”

Doug Mastriano was one of the event’s main speakers, using his time on stage to promise the audience that he will win election in November because “my God will make it so” and that once he is in office, he will make Florida look like “amateur hour.”

Following his heavily Christian nationalist remarks, Mastriano was joined on stage by organizers Alan and Francine Fosdick who presented him with a “Sword of David” because, they said, “you are fighting for our religious rights in Christ Jesus.”

From the moment this event was organized, it was obvious that it was going to be dominated by QAnon conspiracy theories and speakers who make a living spreading those theories. For two days, that is exactly what happened, and yet multiple Republican candidates for office were more than happy to participate in an effort to secure the support of right-wing activists who fervently believe and incessantly promote outlandish and dangerous views.