Hawaii GOP Chair Resigns Over Party’s QAnon Tweets

February 2, 2021 Updated: February 2, 2021

The chairwoman of Hawaii’s Republican Party has resigned because of a series of posts on the party’s Twitter account that promoted the QAnon movement.

Shirlene DelaCruz Ostrov, who has served four years as the local GOP head, has stepped down “to allow the party to recover from the controversy and focus on finding excellent candidates and fighting for policies that improve the quality of life for Hawaii’s hardworking families,” the party said in a statement.

“We have a stark but important choice to make: either we rededicate ourselves to our Constitution and continue to defend and uphold our best American institutions and traditions or we get distracted by conspiracy theories and social media wars,” the statement quoted Ostrov as saying.

The resignation came after Edwin Boyette, then-Hawaii GOP communications vice chairman, used the party’s official Twitter account to send out a series of post supporting those who subscribe to QAnon, a movement that includes theories that some of the most powerful people in the world have engaged in child sex trafficking, abuse, and cannibalism.

“We should make it abundantly clear the people who subscribed to the Q fiction, were largely motivated by a sincere and deep love for America. Patriotism and love of County [sic] should never be ridiculed,” one of Boyette’s Jan. 23 posts read. Another post praised the “generally high quality” work of Tarl Warwick, an occultist and YouTube personality known for questioning the authenticity of the Holocaust.

The posts have since been removed from the Hawaii GOP’s Twitter feed, and Boyette resigned the next day.

Ostrov wrote in a Jan. 25 statement that Boyette wasn’t authorized to post the content, and that she was willing to accept full responsibility.

“Our Party believes in free speech, but it is a responsibility that each of us must carry in order to maintain a good and just society,” she wrote. “Promoting content for the purpose of shock value does not help us to build a more perfect union, nor does it help a divided nation heal.”

“To our friends in the Jewish community, we find the comments to be deeply disturbing and offensive and have no place in our party much less our country,” she added.

Lat month, Twitter announced that it has removed more than 70,000 accounts that promoted content related to the QAnon movement, blaming the movement for the violence that took place around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Given the violent events in Washington, DC, and increased risk of harm, we began permanently suspending thousands of accounts that were primarily dedicated to sharing QAnon content on Friday afternoon,” the social media giant said in a blog post. “These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service.”