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Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) believes that the Republican Party's endorsement of a candidate who supports the QAnon conspiracy theory and its misinformation shows the GOP has "lost our way," he told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday.

Driving the news: Marjorie Taylor Greene — a Republican nominee for Georgia's 14th Congressional District who had previously expressed support for QAnon, before distancing herself from it in August — received $5,000 from the National Republican Congressional Committee on Sept. 25 as a formal endorsement of her campaign, the Daily Beast first reported.

What he's saying: "So I might as well just piss everybody off, Chuck. So I think if we're doing this, if we're looking at the spread of misinformation as part of something just to pander to a certain subset of voters, I think we've lost our way," Riggleman said on "Meet the Press" after being asked about the message the endorsement of Greene sends.

  • Riggleman underlined his support for Republican ideas and "a lot of what President Trump has done," but he added that "when we start to actually represent as a party that's part of this anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that believes there's some kind of pedophilic cabal on the Democratic side of the House, I think we're in for a rough ride."
  • Pointing to his background as a former intelligence officer, Riggleman said, "I guess I scratch my head ... cause what are we doing here? Like I said before, these are people that believe 'Lord of the Rings' is a documentary, and the fact that we're trying to appeal to them is just ridiculous to me."

Between the lines: President Trump has repeatedly refused to condemn QAnon.

  • Trump said during NBC's 2020 town hall event that he did not know much about the far-right conspiracy theory, despite the FBI labeling it as a domestic terrorist threat in 2019.
  • Several QAnon supporters are running for Congress.

Go deeper: QAnon conspiracy theory explodes ahead of the election

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Greene said in an August interview that her previous support for QAnon "no longer represents" her.

Go deeper

Scoop: GOP ignored its early fears about Marjorie Taylor Greene

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

During previously unreported meetings last summer, House Republican leaders discussed — but then largely set aside — fears that QAnon-supporting conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene would end up a flaming trainwreck for their party.

Why it matters: Greene has emerged not just as an embarrassment but a challenge for the GOP, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now forced to weigh whether to maintain his policy of sanctioning members who make dangerous statements.

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being. 

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

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