AUSTIN (KXAN) — The online store for the Republican Party of Texas now exclusively sells items featuring the party’s new motto: “We are the storm.”
The quote, brought to the party by newly-elected chairman Allen West, quickly drew comparisons to the QAnon conspiracy theory and led the New York Times to label Texas Republicans as the most “visible example” of the Republican Party’s embrace of the conspiracy theory.
“The storm” is often referenced by followers of QAnon which the Associated Press describes as a baseless theory that a “high-ranking government official known as ‘Q’ who shares information about an anti-Trump “deep state” often tied to satanism and child sex trafficking.”
West told KXAN earlier this month that the “We are the storm” motto has no connection to the conspiracy theory. He said it comes from the quote: “The devil whispers into the warrior’s ear ‘you cannot withstand the coming storm.’ The warrior whispers back ‘I am the storm.'”
“I don’t know about anybody else and I’m not into internet conspiracy theories,” West said.
The New York Times published a report on Thursday that detailed the “Republican embrace” of the QAnon conspiracy theory, noting that the Republican Party of Texas is an “unusually visible example of the Republican Party’s dalliance with QAnon” citing the state party’s “We are the storm” motto.
According to a spokesperson for West, the New York Times did not request an interview or a statement from the chairman before publishing the story. 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. The original story did not include any mention of contacting West or the state party.
Travis County GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak said he has no reason to believe that West has anything to do with QAnon.
“He was asked about it and explained where ‘we are the storm’ comes from,” Mackowiak told KXAN. “It’s a non-issue.”
The perceived connection between the Republican Party of Texas motto and QAnon is notable, though a spokesperson for West said the chairman does not intend to give up the phrase. In a Twitter post on Thursday, the party said “we are the storm” products are “flying off the shelves.”
The Texas Democratic Party on Friday called on West and the Texas GOP to denounce the QAnon conspiracy theory.
“West can try to deny it’s connection, but it’s there in plain sight for everybody to see,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “Greg Abbott, John Cornyn, and the rest of the Texas Republican Party must take a public stand against QAnon and disavow this motto. There is no wiggle room.”