QAnon is a far right conspiracy theory that posits that Donald Trump is the hero of a secret plan to uncover and arrest a global conspiracy of child molesters and cannibals. The FBI has called it a domestic terror threat. Trump’s campaign has flirted with QAnon, and its adherents have jammed his rallies and events. Eleven QAnon adherents are running as Republican nominees for Congress. At a press conference Wednesday, Trump gave the movement his blessing.
Asked by a reporter what he thinks of QAnon, Trump focused on their love of him, and connected their beliefs to his own agenda.
“I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate…I have heard that it is gaining in popularity. And from what I hear these are people that they watch the streets of Portland, they watch what happened in New York City…,” he said, rambling about his anti-crime message, “these are people who don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland, in places like New York and Chicago.….
These are people that like me. And they also would like to see problems in these areas, especially areas that we are talking about, go away…. I’ve heard these are people that love our country.”
Just to make sure Trump knew what he was endorsing, the reporter helpfully followed up by informing Trump that QAnon believes he is “secretly saving the world from a satanic cult of cannibals and pedophiles. Does that sound like something you are behind?”
Presented with this insane description, Trump affirmed again that he agrees with QAnon: “Is that supposed to be a bad thing? If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there. And we are. We are saving the world from a radical left philosophy….”
The Republican party has been moving to the right for decades. But under Trump, even avowed white supremacists and Nazis openly identify with Trump and echo his rhetoric. His promotion of conspiracy theories has marched along rapidly: from climate science denial to mass-scale vote fraud to Birtherism to various wild pseudoscientific beliefs about the coronavirus, there is no space left between Trump’s party and the furthest fringes of the far right.
Trump is encouraging a new generation of extremists who pose a public threat not only through their control of government but in the thousands of dangerous and often armed maniacs working in their name.