Trump once again declined to denounce the conspiracy theory group QAnon, which believes he is masterminding a plot to oust pedophiles in the highest reaches of government and politics.
Not only that, he side-stepped a question about whether he was indeed taking on such an outlandish mission.
During a press conference on Wednesday, the president was asked about QAnon’s rising popularity during the pandemic. Once a fringe internet conspiracy theory, which was first popularized by two 4chan moderators and a YouTuber, QAnon has gone mainstream recently.
“Well I don’t know much about the movement other than they like me very much, which I appreciate,” Trump responded.
When asked point-blank if he was “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult,” he said, “I haven’t heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?”
“If I can help save the world from problems I’m willing to do it,” Trump said. “And we are, actually. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country, and when this country is gone, the rest of the world will follow.”
“I’ve heard these are people who love our country,” Trump also said of QAnon believers.
His comments came on the same day Facebook announced it was cracking down on thousands of QAnon groups, pages, and Instagram accounts that “have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior.” Last year, the FBI labeled QAnon a potential domestic terror threat. In 2018, Reddit banned the largest QAnon subreddit for inciting violence.
Though not an explicit endorsement of QAnon, the president’s reluctance to denounce it has only fueled QAnon groups on social media.
During the press conference, the president also noted how QAnon followers dislike the Black Lives Matter protests, which began in late May after a white police officer killed a Black man.
“What I hear is…they watch the streets of Portland, when they watched what happened in New York City in just the last six or seven months… These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland, and places like Chicago and New York,” Trump said.
Since the protests against police brutality began, many turned violent when peaceful protesters were met with force from both law enforcement and far-right extremist groups.
Last month, QAnon pushed a completely unfounded conspiracy theory that furniture retailer Wayfair was trafficking children under the guise of selling cabinets. At least 32 congressional candidates that have expressed support for the group have secured spots on the ballot for November’s election.