In response to a New York Times story published Thursday, the Texas GOP is denying that its newly coined slogan, “We Are the Storm,” was inspired by QAnon.
The NYT reported: Late last month, as the Texas Republican Party was shifting into campaign mode, it unveiled a new slogan, lifting a rallying cry straight from a once-unthinkable source: the internet-driven conspiracy theory known as QAnon. The new catchphrase, “We Are the Storm,” is an unsubtle cue to a group that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat. It is instantly recognizable among QAnon adherents, signaling what they claim is a coming conflagration between President Trump and what they allege, falsely, is a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile Democrats who seek to dominate America and the world. The slogan can be found all over social media posts by QAnon followers, and now, too, in emails from the Texas Republican Party and on the T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts that it sells. It has even worked its way into the party’s text message system — a recent email from the party urged readers to “Text STORM2020” for updates.
KXAN-TV reports that former Republican Congressman Allen West, the newly elected chairman of the Texas GOP, claims he drew inspiration for the slogan from an unattributed quote that he likes: “The devil whispers into the warrior’s ear ‘you cannot withstand the coming storm.’ The warrior whispers back ‘I am the storm.’”
On Friday, the Texas GOP issued a statement calling the NYT story “fake news.”
“No one from their organization reached out for a comment or clarification, and their article contained a number of baseless assertions and assumptions,” the party said. “It is disappointing to see an outlet — once considered the gold standard in journalism — fall to new lows by again engaging in fake news in order to paint conservatives and Republicans as conspiracy theorists. Chairman West was asked about Qanon a few weeks ago, and curtly replied, ‘I don’t know about anybody else and I’m not into internet conspiracy theories.’ The ‘We Are the Storm’ poem is one of Chairman West’s favorite quotes to use in speeches. He and the entire Texas GOP will not be bullied by partisan leftists in the media into ceding powerful phrases with biblical roots — taken from Psalm 29 — to Internet conspiracy groups.”
According to KXAN, “A spokesperson for the New York Times said in a statement that the newspaper reached out to the Republican Party of Texas but did not hear back.”
More from the Texas Tribune: The concept of “the storm” is a significant part of QAnon vernacular, said Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida who studies conspiracy theories. “The storm has been one of the metaphors that Q and his followers have used to describe the coming upheaval in which Donald Trump reveals himself to have been working heroically behind the scenes to expose and punish those who have been engaged in this horrible satanic child sex cult,” Fenster said. “Storms are longstanding metaphors going back to biblical [times]of how it is you cleanse what has otherwise been a sinful humanity.” … Psalm 29 does not include the “devil whispers” quote. However, it is titled, “The Voice of God in a Great Storm,” and depicts God as a force for good overwhelming nature. The Texas Democratic Party did not buy the GOP’s explanation for the slogan. “The Republican Party is being led by an internet cult that believes in dangerous, extreme far-right conspiracy theories,” party spokesman Abhi Rahman said in a statement. “West can try to deny it’s connection, but it’s there in plain sight for everybody to see.”