Wearing a Florida Gators T-shirt, an Arizona man in his mid-40s attempts to convince the hundreds of thousands of conspiracy theorists watching his laptop livestream that he’s the real leader of the United States. “King” David Carlson explains that he still has a few million people to "take out" before he’s finally done with his plan: installing QAnon kings and queens across the world.
“We’ve managed to infiltrate large portions of the world's population and cut the heads off the snake in many places around the world,” said Carlson, hinting at the murder or incarceration of his enemies. “We’ve got a long way to go yet. There are a few million minions we're having to deal with. But we’re catching up.”
To understand the man claiming to be the King of America, you must first understand the woman claiming to be the Queen of Canada. Romana Didulo is a QAnon influencer who’s convinced a sizable number of people that she’s the ruler of Canada, a leader in the existential fight against an international cabal of globalist pedophiles who control the world, and an extraterrestrial being with healing powers. Some experts even describe the group as a cult.
Didulo is currently in the midst of a never-ending tour of Canada, driving around the country in a caravan of RVs, making appearances with her followers. Like any good monarch, Didulo decided to expand her kingdom past its borders, and, like any good QAnon figure, her idea massively backfired. The sovereigns she implemented began implementing their own sovereigns, and now a large group has broken off and are threatening regicide.
The monarchical mess is evidence of just how fractured the QAnon community can be and how deep the rabbit hole can go. Carlson’s “subjects” are essentially a fringe group within a fringe group within a fringe group—a Russian doll of bewilderment, if you will. And it’s led people to believe a middle-aged man sitting in a small home in Arizona has had some of the biggest politicians and celebrities in the country executed or replaced.
“We’ve replaced sheriffs and officers. We have replaced various levels of military brass. We’ve replaced the president. Joe Biden was taken out on Inauguration Day,” Carlson told VICE News. “All you gotta do is look at the pictures. That is not Joe Biden by any means. I’m surprised people actually think it is.”
“We’ve managed to infiltrate large portions of the world's population and cut the heads off the snake in many places around the world.”
Carlson started as an ancillary character in what’s best described as Didulo’s lore. Then she crowned him the King of America. That meant he was in charge of the U.S. military and at the heart of the main conflict in QAnon folklore, the secretive war against the deep state.
In an interview with VICE News over video chat, Carlson spoke at length about being put into power by the military and all the secretive work he does as the true leader of the United States. He said that he’s had several people “taken out” and that a war is happening right under everyone’s noses.
But obvious bad blood between Carlson and Didulo began to form at the end of the summer, Carlson told VICE News. He said the rift first started when he began to criticize Didulo openly about telling her followers not to pay their utility bills and the group’s attempt to “citizen’s arrest” an entire police force. Didulo then declared him a clone and said that his Telegram "channels were hacked."
“She won't be much longer,” Carlson replied ominously when asked why Didulo, who he called a “domestic terrorist,” is still around if he’s all-powerful.
Carlson has a few thousand people who interact with him in lively Telegram chats and Zoom calls. The group runs a network of intersecting Telegram groups who have members numbering from the low hundreds to several thousands. Each group is localized and has names like “The Kingdom of Britain” and “The Kingdom of Sweden.” Inside the groups, the members discuss how they’re going to rule their kingdom when people finally “wake up” and share conspiratorial media.
The leaders of these groups have been crowned, by Carlson of course, as kings and queens wherever they live. Others have since declared themselves the “ministers” of departments like forestry, health, or education in their respective kingdoms. There’s Queen Regina of Germany; Queen Meryl of Switzerland; His Excellency Joe, the Minister of North Carolina; Queen Helen Edwards of the Kingdom of Australia; and Her Excellency Karen, Minister of New Jersey.
A Quebec woman, Queen Charmaine, who once wrote a fan poem about Didulo, has taken over as the “real Queen of Canada.” After seizing the throne, she also wrote an anti-Didulo poem.
“What benevolent person, would slander the people she does?” reads a section of the anti-Didulo verses. “The way she talks about, King David and Lady Sarah, Should be making your heads buzz.”
Dr. Christine Sarteschi, an extremism researcher who follows Didulo closely, told VICE News that back when the split first happened, the entire situation resembled a bizarre car wreck.
“Some of the people seem confused about what's going on and they believe what she says, that they're infiltrators or clones or whatever she says about them,” said Sarteschi. “So they seem to think that he [Carlson] went rogue or that this is all a lie.”
Carlson’s plan to expand the Qanon sovereignty is slowly growing, and his group has held zoom meetings to discuss the best ways to move forward and chatter about what the world will be like when they’re in charge. Right now, they’re focused on growing their base and attempting to fill roles throughout the kingdom. It’s yet to reach the point of actual offline activity, but the group is certainly networking and establishing its roots.
“Thank you for all of your interest in KOA [Kingdom of America] and stepping up to help your country,” their global director of compliance and communications wrote in a call for volunteers. “KOA has many positions available.”
“We are on a global mission to rid the world of the evil cabal control that has imprisoned humanity for centuries,” they added. “It is time for humanity to unite and rejoin their Galactic Brothers and Sister of Light.”
Carlson, like Didulo, doesn't have much of an online history other than social media profiles that show him attempting to present himself as some sort of development mogul. While he often boasts online about his accomplishments—such as owning the “parent company of possibly the world’s largest business consortium”—no real proof exists.
When VICE News spoke to Carlson, he had a wide array of people surrounding him, including a "special advisor" dubbed Straight Up Patriot (a figure rather influential in the Kingdom community), his wife Sarah the “Queen of America” and his IT guy, Kip.
Carlson has espoused many easily disproved or impossible-to-prove ideas, including politicians being replaced with body doubles and an apache helicopter once stopping teenagers from attempting to race his wife on the street. When asked what proof he had for his claims, he showed VICE News a CIA counterinsurgency book he owned. VICE News asked if he and his group are stockpiling weapons or had any plans on taking real-world action themselves and were told no.
Since America and former President Donald Trump are at the core of the QAnon world, Carlson technically ranks higher than Didulo. But he only has a fraction of the followers his creator does and nothing close to offline impact.
At the start of November, however, Carlson and his cohorts were guests on an influential QAnon show with 150,000 followers on Rumble, a “free speech” alternative to YouTube. The interview now has a quarter of a million views. Didulo was only thrust into the QAnon limelight after being “confirmed” by other influencers—one of the first was this very show.
The tale Carlson was weaving seemed to be bizarre even for the host, who routinely talks to people espousing outlandish conspiracies. As the interview carried on, the host seemed to get more and more confused. In the comment section, followers were also put off by the statements Carlson was making.
“Uhm—can someone please tell me this is one big joke?” one wrote. “Seriously? Which hen house did that ‘king’ and his entourage escape from? I guess Earth is doomed.”
“I rarely ever comment but, this king character guy is the biggest joke ever! There is no way he’s a commander of anything with all the lip-smacking and loud nose breather or sucking up snot. Not to mention all the B.S. coming out of his mouth.”
“Sorry, I don't buy this,” one wrote simply.
Nevertheless, the group chats, where the kings and queens reign supreme, celebrated the appearance as a win.
Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.