Aug 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP congressman: Republicans must denounce QAnon now that it's mainstream

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday that Republican leaders must denounce QAnon now that a supporter of the far-right conspiracy theory has won a congressional runoff and is set to enter Congress in the next election.

Why it matters: Very few, if any, Republicans have been outspoken against QAnon, which baselessly claims that a powerful cabal of sex traffickers within the "deep state" is fighting to take down President Trump.

  • The president has yet to condemn the theory and refused to answer a direct question last week about whether or not he supports QAnon.
  • The FBI identified fringe conspiracy theories, like QAnon, as domestic terrorist threats in 2019, according to Yahoo News.

The state of play: Kinzinger spoke out about the conspiracy theory last week, saying it has "no place in Congress" after vocal QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene won Georgia's 14th district congressional runoff.

  • Greene has previously been condemned by GOP leadership after videos of her making offensive remarks about Black people, Jews and Muslims surfaced on Facebook.
  • Now that she is poised to enter Congress, however, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that she will be welcomed into the House GOP conference if she wins in November.
  • Green is one of at least 11 GOP congressional nominees who have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.

What he's saying: "Up to maybe about a week ago, there wasn't a reason to denounce it because it didn't need the attention," Kinzinger said.

  • "But now that it's made mainstream — we have a candidate that embraces it that won a primary. I supported her primary opponent, the president hasn't fully denounced it or denounced it at all. Now it's time for leaders to come out and denounce it."
  • "The key here isn't Democrats denouncing it. It's Republicans denouncing it. Democrats and Republicans have to denounce extremism in their own party. That's where it's effective. It's not going to be effective from the other side denouncing it. It just emboldens them."

Go deeper: Read more about QAnon's 2020 resurgence

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