The claim: QAnon supporters are buying fabricated tickets for Donald Trump’s second inauguration
Circulating on social media: a false claim about conspiracy theorists purchasing fabricated tickets to a fake presidential inauguration.
Social media users are mocking QAnon supporters for allegedly purchasing fake tickets to “The 2nd Inauguration of Donald Trump.” A photo of the tickets included in the posts says the event will be held in front of the United States Capitol building this August with “special musical guest stars” Ted Nugent and Kid Rock, both of whom are vocal Trump supporters.
“Stupid is abundant with the Q crowd and the Trump fools,” one Facebook user’s post begins. “This is just INSANE on a whole other level! These ‘tickets’ are being sold for as high as $1,200 each on Q sites all over the internet, the crazy part is that people are talking about how excited they are because they’ve already purchased them.”
“You’re being conned. A fool and their money will soon part.”
But there is no con. USA TODAY found no evidence to suggest fabricated tickets were being sold or purchased online.
Users in several anti-Trump and liberal Facebook groups — including the Blue Wave 2022, Resist Trump, and Trump Zero — spread the claim. But the post that gained the most traction was a tweet from Pamela Apostolopoulos, which received more than 10,000 interactions.
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USA TODAY reached out to several users who posted the claim for comment.
National Guard troops line up as security around the U.S. Capitol is heightened as the House of Representatives reconvenes to debate Trump impeachment following Pro-Trump riots on the Capitol building and ahead of inauguration on Jan. 13, 2021 in Washington. (Photo: Jasper Colt, USA TODAY)
Claim related to QAnon belief
The claim is an outgrowth of QAnon supporters’ false belief that Trump, not Joe Biden, is president.
QAnon followers say Trump is covertly fighting a satanic cabal of powerful people in government, media and Hollywood that participate in an international child sex trafficking ring.
Even though there is no evidence that QAnon followers are planning a second inauguration for Trump, the concept likely plays off a QAnon conspiracy theory that Biden did not legitimately win the election and that his inauguration was fake. USA TODAY has debunked those claims.
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Some QAnon supporters falsely claimed Trump would be inaugurated as the rightful president March 4, leading Capitol Police to increase security measures that week.
No evidence tickets being sold
The purported photos of fake tickets to Trump’s second inauguration have been digitally altered, a USA TODAY analysis found.
In the image, text with the event’s details and price is in a different font than the rest of the ticket. The photo matches blank tickets on several stock photo websites, such as 123RF.
A sign supporting QAnon at a rally in Olympia, Washington in May 2020. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)
As Snopes reported, the image was first posted June 13 as a joke on 4chan, a message board where fringe groups and conspiracy theorists have been known to gather. A USA TODAY search of 4chan found no other posts mentioning tickets for a second Trump inauguration. No commenters on the original post expressed interest in buying or selling tickets.
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Reuters found no trace of the tickets in QAnon groups on the messaging platform Telegram, either. A USA TODAY search also did not find mention of the tickets.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that QAnon supporters are buying tickets to a fake Trump inauguration event. No evidence has been found in online QAnon groups that people are buying or selling these tickets. The photo in the social media posts is digitally manipulated.
Our fact-check sources:
- TinEye Reverse Image Search, June 15
- 123RF, accessed June 15, Stock Photo – Pair of Blank Concert Tickets Isolated on White Background
- Snopes, June 14, Fake Tickets to Trump’s ‘2nd Inauguration’ Circulate on Social Media
- Reuters, June 14, Fact Check-No evidence QAnon followers are buying fabricated ‘second inauguration’ tickets
- 4chan, June 14, Anonymous post (archived)
- 4plebs, June 14, Anonymous post
- @PamelaApostolo1, June 13, tweet
- USA TODAY, Jan. 13, Banned from Facebook and Twitter, pro-Trump extremists hatch Inauguration Day violence in dark reaches of the web
- USA TODAY, Jan 28, Fact check: No basis for claims that President Joe Biden’s inauguration was faked
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