The QAnon conspiracy theory movement won a major victory Wednesday when President Trump was asked about it at a White House press conference — and he answered.
For months, White House reporters resisted a concerted drive by conspiracists to find a reporter willing to ask Trump about the movement of the loosely gathered and evolving theories claiming a conspiracy of Democrats and pedophiles.
An NBC News journalist asked about the movement after other reporters resisted the QAnon believers’ quest for legitimacy in the briefing room.
“Well, I didn’t know much about the movement, other than that I understand they like me very, which I appreciate, but I don’t know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity,” Trump said.
“These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland and places like Chicago and New York and other cities and states. And I’ve heard these are people that love our country.”
The NBC News journalist followed up with Trump, telling him that some members of the movement believe he is “secretly saving the world from a satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals.”
“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. “I’m willing to put myself out there. And we are actually, we’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country.
Some fringe Republican congressional candidates are adherents of the fluid and ill-defined theory. On the Fourth of July, former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn posted a video of himself and friends swearing an oath to the movement.
A spokesman for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed Trump in a statement to multiple publications.
“After calling neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville ‘fine people’ and tear gassing peaceful protesters following the murder of George Floyd, Donald Trump just sought to legitimize a conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a domestic terrorism threat,” said Biden spokesman Andrew Bates.
“Our country needs leadership that will bring us together more than ever to form a more perfect union,” Bates said. “We have to win this battle for the soul of our nation.”
Within minutes, dozens of Instagram users began celebrating Trump’s acknowledgement of the conspiracy theory at the White House podium, uploading videos of him.
“Well we’ve been waiting for this moment for a while, to put it mildly thank you @realDonaldTrump,” one Instagram user wrote to her 19,000 followers in a post of Trump’s exchange. The video was viewed more than 1,000 times in just 30 minutes.
“Holy Smokin Q,” another tweeted. “Our President was asked 2 questions about the Qanon movement TODAY!! We LOVE you President Trump.”
Trump’s comments came a week after he endorsed Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won her GOP House primary runoff in Georgia last week. Greene called the QAnon conspiracy theory “something worth listening to and paying attention to” and called Q a “patriot.” Trump praised her as a “future Republican Star.”
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