House Republicans won’t expressly reject the QAnon conspiracy theory

  • Insider spoke with a dozen House Republicans about QAnon, a conspiracy theory that alleges a cannibalistic child-sex-trafficking cult has taken over the Democratic Party and global elites. Most of them would not denounce it.
  • The absence of a strong and unified stand in the GOP against QAnon suggests that Republicans have little appetite for alienating their party’s most extreme voters, with fewer than 50 days before Election Day.
  • A supporter of the outrageous conspiracy theory that has taken root in the Republican Party, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is favored to win a Georgia congressional seat in the November elections. House GOP leaders are ready to welcome her.
  • “I don’t think it’s a big deal,” said Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of President Donald Trump who has embraced QAnon supporters. Other Republican lawmakers deflected, saying they’d instead like to see a stronger condemnation for Black Lives Matter activists protesting police brutality.
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QAnon has been labeled a terrorism threat by the FBI and is linked to violent incidents across the country, but many Republican members of Congress Insider interviewed this week would not outright disavow it or call for a stronger condemnation by the party’s leadership. 

Only a handful of elected Republicans have voiced concern about the wild conspiracy theory that has infiltrated the party’s base.

Of the more than a dozen Republican lawmakers Insider talked to, only one — Rep. Peter King of New York — expressly denounced QAnon and its adherents. 

The absence of a strong and unified stand in the GOP against QAnon raises questions of how seriously the party is willing to take a dangerous conspiracy theory animating a part of its base. It also suggests that some Republican lawmakers have little appetite, with fewer than 50 days before Election Day, for alienating their party’s most extreme voters.

In interviews with Insider on Capitol Hill this week, some Republicans claimed ignorance, even though QAnon has received significant media coverage since at least 2018. A resolution denouncing QAnon is pending in Congress, and even President Donald Trump has commented on it.

Other members expressed skepticism about QAnon’s seriousness. At least three lawmakers deflected, saying they’d instead like to see stronger condemnation of racial-justice protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to “defund the police,” a rallying cry for reforms in American law enforcement. 

Those who did criticize QAnon demurred when asked if House Republicans should take a stand against the QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican congressional candidate who is all but certain to win in November after her Democratic opponent suddenly dropped out last week.

Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said she hadn’t “spent time looking into” QAnon.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of Trump, downplayed it.

“I didn’t know anything until y’all started talking about it, and I haven’t taken the time to research it,” Jordan told Insider. “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

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