The Trump campaign on Sunday continued defending the President’s refusal to disavow QAnon — a group that has been labeled by the FBI as a domestic terror threat — during an NBC News town hall by rehashing his self-proclaimed ignorance of the group, despite his history of endorsing QAnon-aligned GOP congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene and promoting unfounded claims from QAnon-affiliated accounts on Twitter.
When asked during an NBC town hall on Thursday night whether he can disavow QAnon, which centers around a conspiracy theory that Trump is a savior fighting a cult of “deep state” Democrats running a satanic pedophile ring, the President claimed ignorance of the group.
“I know nothing about QAnon, I know very little,” Trump said on Thursday night, regurgitating a response he has repeatedly used in the past to suggest that if he issn’t aware of someone or something, then he can’t be held accountable for it.
The President also appeared to boost QAnon by selectively emphasizing “that they’re very strong against pedophilia,” which he said he agrees with, while refusing to acknowledge the unfounded claims pushed by its supporters.
A few days later, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel and Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley echoed the President’s self-proclaimed ignorance of QAnon during Sunday morning interviews.
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel
When asked whether she can condemn QAnon as head of the GOP, like her uncle Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) had done in criticizing the President for refusing to do so, McDaniel appeared to blame the media as she reiterated Trump’s absurd claim that he doesn’t know anything about it.
“I knew you were going to ask me that question. I knew it because it’s something the voters are not even thinking about. It’s a fringe group. It’s not part of our party,” McDaniel said on ABC News. “The vice president said, I dismiss it out of hand. The President said, you know what, I don’t know anything about this group. But, of course, you’re going to ask me about that because it has absolutely nothing to do with this election.”
Asked again whether she condemns QAnon, McDaniel pivoted to ranting about antifa and stalled COVID relief negotiations (which the President himself called off).
.@GStephanopoulos: As head of the GOP are you prepared to condemn QAnon?
McDaniel claims it's “something the voters are not thinking about” and it is a “fringe group.”
GS: "So do you condemn it?"
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 18, 2020
Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley
Gidley denied that Trump was “mixed in his response” to QAnon and similarly told Fox News on Sunday that Trump was “pretty clear he didn’t know much about the group at all.”
Gidney then deflected to blaming NBC News town hall moderator Savannah Guthrie for asking about QAnon in the first place.
“When the American people got the chance to ask the questions that concerned their futures, not just for them and their families, but for their children, for their friends, they asked serious questions about the economy, they asked serious questions about jobs coming back, questions about COVID,” Gidley said. “Savannah Guthrie takes her time to ask about a crazy conspiracy theory to which the President said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I hear they’re against pedophilia. Yeah, so am I.’ He doesn’t know anything about the group, he was clear.”
Gidley continued railing against the “mainstream media” for pushing “nonsensical” topics.
“But that’s what the mainstream media is trying to push, all the things that are nonsensical that don’t really address the issues that face real Americans, because they know the President has the answers for those issues,” Gidley said.
Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley says the President was "pretty clear he didn’t know much about (QAnon) at all" pic.twitter.com/5KLUsw60gb
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 18, 2020