“I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” Trump said in the White House briefing room.
It was a striking nod to a group that has been likened to a virtual cult and has been labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat by the FBI.
Trump admitted he wasn’t intimately familiar with some of the sprawling conspiracies offered by the group’s followers but said he understood it was becoming more widespread.
“I have heard that it’s gaining in popularity,” Trump said, suggesting QAnon followers approved of how he’d handled social unrest in places like Portland, Oregon. “I’ve heard these are people that love our country and they just don’t like seeing it.”
QAnon’s prevailing conspiracy theories — none based in fact — claim dozens of Satan-worshipping politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse. Followers also believe there is a “deep state” effort to annihilate Trump.
But followers of the group have expanded from those beliefs and now allege baseless theories surrounding mass shootings and elections. Followers have falsely claimed that 5G cellular networks are spreading the coronavirus.
The group has also peddled conspiracies about coronavirus, the Black Lives Matter movement and vaccines — none grounded in reality.
Trump is revered among the conspiracy’s followers, who believe he was recruited to help eliminate the controlling criminal conspiracy they allege is gripping the world’s power structures.
Trump did not seem entirely familiar with all that on Wednesday. Instead he focused on the group’s praise for him — which was enough, apparently, to overlook the cultish beliefs.
Asked if he believed the crux of the theory, described by a reporter as the belief that the President “is secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” Trump said: “Well, 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,” he went on. “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.”
Asked earlier Wednesday about Trump’s support for QAnon, his press secretary insisted it wasn’t a matter she’d ever heard him discuss.
“I’ve never heard of that. There’s a lot of media focus on that but certainly never heard of that from the President,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
“The President routinely congratulates people who officially get the Republican nomination for Congress, so he does that as a matter of course,” McEnany said. “He hasn’t done a deep dive into the statements by these two particular women. I don’t know if he’s even seen that. But he supports the Muslim community, he supports the community of faith more broadly in this country.”