As the QAnon conspiracy movement has grown in both size and strength – with several QAnon believers attaining GOP nominations in Republican-leaning House seats – two Republican lawmakers came forward on Sunday to disavow the movement and call on their colleagues to do the same.
“Normally I wouldn’t want to give any attention to this, but I now think it’s important to expose it and speak out,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) in a video addressing the “threats” posed by QAnon, which posits that Trump is working to defeat a group of liberal bureaucrats, executives, politicians and celebrities operating a sex trafficking ring.
In the video, Kinzinger points to the many unrealized predictions made by “Q Clearance Patriot,” a poster on internet forums 4chan and 8chan and the main propagator of the theory, as evidence that it is not based in reality.
“Denouncing conspiracies shouldn’t be the exception, they really should be the rule,” Kinzinger said, adding “in a moment where facts are only real if they confirm your previous beliefs, leaders need to lead everywhere.”
The video is a clear shot across the bough to Kinzinger’s GOP colleagues, especially House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has prompted grumbles and even overthrow rumorsfrom his caucus owing to his acceptance of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon and 9/11 conspiracy believer who won the GOP nomination in a safely Republican U.S. House seat in Georgia earlier this month.
Kinzinger was joined in his denunciations on Sunday by Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), a libertarian minded Republican who lost renomination in June to a more conservative challenger, who tweeted, “QAnon has the same number of letters as Moron.”
“I’m a 9/11 USAF veteran. I deployed. My buddy was in the Pentagon when Flight 77 hit. Truthers and QAnon are enemies to intelligence and common sense,” Riggleman said of Greene, declaring, “The GOP is better than this.”
The FBI has labelled QAnon a domestic terrorist threat, according to a report from Yahoo News in August 2019. A document from the Bureau’s Phoenix field office reportedly describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing danger, specifically referencing QAnon. “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 reportedly says.
President Trump has also embraced Greene with gusto, calling her a “future Republican Star” who is “strong on everything and never gives up” after her GOP runoff win on Tuesday. Asked at a press conferenceon Friday if he agrees with Greene that QAnon is “worth listening to,” Trump replied, “Well, she did very well in the election. She won by a lot. She was very popular. She comes from a great state and she had a tremendous victory so absolutely I did congratulate her.”
Kinzinger took not-so-subtle aim at a Trump campaign aide who shot back at him when he denounced QAnon on Twitter. Matt Wolking, the Trump campaign’s deputy director of communications, quote-tweeted Kinzinger on Wednesday, asking, “When will Rep. Kinzinger condemn the Steele Dossier fabrications and conspiracy theories pushed by Democrats? That actually WAS Russian propaganda” after the Congressman tweeted that QAnon is a “fabrication” and speculated it “could be Russian propaganda.” In his video, Kinzinger addressed “a couple conspiracy theories about me,” declaring that he “didn’t spread the Steele Dossier.”
14. That’s how many QAnon believers who are running for office in the U.S. have been verified on Twitter, according to a Forbes analysis. In addition to Greene, two other QAnon friendly candidates have won GOP nominations for Congress. Jo Rae Perkins, a vocal believer of the theory, won the U.S. Senate nomination in Democrat-leaning Oregon. Lauren Boebert, who owns a restaurant where servers open-carry firearms and said of QAnon, “Everything I’ve heard of Q — I hope this is real,” defeated Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) in the GOP primary in Colorado’s 3rd U.S. House district.