[guest post by Dana]
Because I’m disinclined to give any politicians the benefit of the doubt these days – especially those with a track record of proving themselves not deserving of such grace – I believe that Trump is utterly disingenous in the video below, and is, in fact, fully familiar with Q’anon, their nutty conspiracy theories, bigotry, and massive support for him. Much more so than he lets on in the video below:
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) August 19, 2020
I was laboring to transcribe Trump’s comments, only to discover that someone else had already done the heavy lifting:
Here is a brief overview of Q’anon:
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory and loosely organized network centered around the belief that the U.S. is controlled by a cabal of child sex trafficking, Democratic elites hell-bent on bringing down President Trump.
Followers believe these elites, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, have gone so far as to manufacture the coronavirus to bring Trump down. They heed cryptic online dispatches of someone named Q who’s anonymous — hence QAnon — who claims the highest government security clearance.
QAnon adherence includes people young and old of many backgrounds who try to push their “deep state” narrative into the mainstream. They show up at Trump rallies in Q merchandise, shirts and hats. President Trump has retweeted Q-supporting accounts many times — including at least 90 times since the pandemic began, says Alex Kaplan of Media Matters.
It is simply appalling that the President of the United States is unwilling to wholly condemn this group. Not for a second do I believe that he doesn’t know what Q’anon is about. But of course, he won’t condemn it, or the people involved because that would not be in *his* best interest. How much support might he lose if he were to publicly disavow them? Better to be a weasel when confronted with questions about the group. It’s incredible that even after he is given a specific (and preposterous) example of their nuttery, he still refused to disavow them, and instead, played coy. This is shameful behavior by the President and should be immediately condemned by politicians on both sides of the aisle. But the Republicans should lead the charge in pushing back against the President, otherwise, we might as well assume that this is indeed what today’s GOP is all about, and this is the new level to which the party has sunk. However, none of this should really be surprising. After all, it was just a week ago when he offered his congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Green for winning the nomination in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Green is known for embrace of Q’anon conspiracy theories, and support of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views:
Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2020
The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat…
The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.
The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).
“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.
I want to also note that, if you ever had doubts about Trump’s massive ego, vanity, and narcissism, this should remove them all. Because who else but a true narcissist like Trump would be flattered by the suggestion that a group of established crazy and dangerous fringe-conspiracists believes that he is here to save the world from evil? The reporter’s question was a straight-shot appeal to his vanity, so how could he possibly condemn them? They love him! They need him! They see him as the savior! How could someone like Trump resist such an appeal, and say no to that? And most importantly, why on earth would he consider condemning an organization that loves him that much? After all, this is his lifeblood that we’re talking about.