Oct 16, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump again refuses to condemn QAnon

A person wearing a QAnon sweatshirt at a Trump rally in New York City on Oct. 3.
A person wearing a QAnon sweatshirt at a Trump rally in New York City on Oct. 3. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

President Trump said during NBC's town hall event on Thursday that he does not know much about QAnon, the sprawling, far-right conspiracy theory, and refused to condemn the baseless theory.

Why it matters: The FBI identified fringe online conspiracy theories, like QAnon, as domestic terrorist threats in 2019. The group falsely alleges a secret cabal of sex traffickers and pedophiles is waging a war against Trump from inside the government.

What he's saying: "I don't know anything about QAnon," Trump said when asked by "Today" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie whether he would denounce the conspiracy theory.

  • "I'll tell what you I do know about, I know about antifa and the radical left and how violent and vicious they are, and I know how they're burning down cities run by Democrats."
  • "Let me just tell you what I do hear about, it is they are very strongly against pedophilia and I agree with that. I do agree with that very strongly."
  • Trump said, "I don't know that," after Guthrie pressed the president on whether he believes there is a satanic cult being run by Democrats.

Of note: The president did condemn white supremacy outright on Thursday evening, echoing comments made at the start of October.

The big picture: The president has repeatedly struggled to denounce the conspiracy theory, and even gone so far as to praise QAnon supporters. But he consistently says he isn't familiar the theory.

  • Trump refused to answer a direct question on whether or not he supports the QAnon conspiracy theory during a press briefing on Aug. 14.
  • He said during another press conference on Aug. 20 that he doesn't know much about the fringe conspiracy theory, but that he understands its supporters "like me very much" and that they "love America."

Go deeper: QAnon's 2020 resurgence

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