Critics compare Trump meme during coronavirus crisis to Nero fiddling while Rome burned

Viral reactions prompted 'Nero' to trend on Twitter on Monday.

March 9, 2020, 5:02 PM

Reaction was trending on Twitter Monday to a meme President Donald Trump retweeted about himself -- one originally from the White House social media director -- that caused critics to compare his handling of the coronavirus crisis to the story of emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

The image also apparently included a QAnon slogan, the Washington Post reported.

“My next piece is called,” the meme White House social media director Dan Scavino tweeted Sunday read, “Nothing can stop what’s coming,” over an image of Trump, with his eyes closed and a satisfied look on his face, playing a violin.

Trump then retweeted and commented on Scavino’s tweet saying, “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”

Nero was an infamous emperor who ruled Rome at the age of 16. One night in 54 A.D., or so the legend goes, a fire broke out near shops in Rome -- a then city of two million people while Nero watched from miles away in a cooler coastal area, possibly playing a lyre.

The fire, it was said, raged for approximately six days before it was brought under control -- but accounts said two thirds of Rome was already destroyed.

Twitter critics said Trump was “watching America burn” during the COVID-19 outbreak while he played golf at his club in West Palm Beach, Florida, with the Washington Nationals team on Sunday.

Trump downplayed the coronavirus crisis Monday, blaming the news media and the Democratic Party for hyping the outbreak and repeating the risk is still "low to the average American."

There are more than 550 reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. with at least 22 deaths across at least 34 states.

Global markets continue to tank with Wall Street trading halted after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dove more than 2000 points.

Another comparison drawn to the retweeted photo was the language used in the meme resonating with a QAnon slogan, “Nothing can stop what’s coming."

QAnon is a right-wing conspiracy theory that is creeping into politics and gaining popularity of Trump supporters.

QAnon phrases have followed the president to his rallies -- with many holding signs and wearing t-shirts that read “We are Q” and “Q.”

PHOTO: Supporters of President Donald Trump raise "We are Q" signs during a rally in Tampa, Florida, July 31, 2018.
Supporters of President Donald Trump raise "We are Q" signs during a rally in Tampa, Florida, July 31, 2018.
Kyodo News Stills via Getty Images, FILE

“Q” the 17th letter in the alphabet is a cryptic salute to an elusive character that runs the QAnon movement -- which is presumed to be running from the dark corners of cyberspace.

The anonymous figure, known as "Q," claims to be deeply embedded in Trump's inner circle.

"Q" supposedly has access to a top-secret security clearance -- providing incremental cryptic clues for far-right fringe Internet spies to debate and decode.

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