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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) criticized President Trump's embrace of QAnon supporters, telling the Washington Post on Thursday that "real leaders" would denounce the "nuts" conspiracy theory.

Driving the news: Sasse's statement came a day after Trump said he does not know much about QAnon, but that he understands its supporters "like me very much" and that they "love America."

What he's saying: "QAnon is nuts — and real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories," Sasse, who has not shied away from criticizing Trump in the past, said in a statement to the Post.

  • "If Democrats take the Senate, blow up the filibuster, and pack the Supreme Court — garbage like this will be a big part of why they won," he added.

Why it matters: Few Republicans have been outspoken against QAnon, which falsely claims that Trump is saving the U.S. from a powerful cabal of sex traffickers within the "deep state."

  • The president also recently congratulated Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist, for winning a congressional GOP primary runoff election in Georgia.
  • At least 11 GOP candidates for Congress have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets.

Worth noting: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida, joined Sasse in blasting Trump for his remarks on QAnon.

Go deeper: How QAnon works like a video game to hook people

Go deeper

Marjorie Taylor Greene's opponent bows out of Georgia race

Kevin Van Ausdal, the Democratic nominee for Georgia's 14th Congressional District, dropped out of the race via Twitter on Friday, leaving state Democrats without a candidate to challenge the Republican nominee, Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Why it matters: Van Ausdal's abrupt departure gives Greene an easier path to a seat in the House. She has repeatedly made offensive remarks about Black people, Jews and Muslims in Facebook videos and has publicly supported the QAnon movement and other far-right conspiracy theories.

Where key GOP senators stand on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee this week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with less than 50 days until Election Day.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election, meaning that two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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