WH Downplays FBI Warning Of QAnon Posing Threat: ‘I Had To Google’ It

A Donald Trump supporter holding a QAnon flag visits Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 1, 2020 in Keystone, South Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
|
August 23, 2020 2:17 p.m.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf on Sunday echoed President Trump’s claim that he “doesn’t know much about” the far-right conspiracy QAnon despite the FBI labeling it as a potential domestic terrorism threat.

Last week during a briefing at the White House, Trump wouldn’t condemn supporters of QAnon — the baseless far-right conspiracy theory that alleges the President is secretly saving the world from a cult of pedophiles and cannibals — amid a growing trend of GOP candidates who have pledged their adherence to the far-right conspiracy.

“I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand that they like me very much, which I appreciate,” Trump said last week.

When asked about whether Trump condemns QAnon, Meadows took a cue from the President by claiming that he doesn’t even know what it is during an interview on Fox News Sunday.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Meadows then slammed the media for its coverage on QAnon, which he claimed that he “had to actually Google.”

“I find it appalling that the media when we have all of the important things going on, a list of Top 20s, that the first question at a press briefing would be about QAnon, which I had to actually Google to figure out what it is,” Meadows said. “It’s not an essential part of what the President is talking about. I don’t know anything about it — I don’t even know that it’s credible.”

Meadows added that he’d be “glad to speak” about “how the FBI and others within the FBI spied on the Trump campaign” instead, before going on to insist that if QAnon is a “hate group, I can tell you that this president is not for hate.”

Wolf also appeared unbothered by the QAnon movement during an interview on CNN.

When asked whether he agrees with the FBI’s assessment that it’s a domestic terror threat, Wolf replied that he has no reason to believe anything different from the FBI.

Pressed on Trump and Vice President Pence claiming that they don’t know anything about QAnon, Wolf downplayed the severity of the threat that QAnon poses.

“Again, when I look at all the threats facing the homeland, this is not one that rises to a significant level,” Wolf said. “There are many other threats here domestically, as well as overseas, that we’re focused on. And we will continue to look at those and address those. So, I can’t comment and not going to comment on every fringe element and fringe group out there. There are many. There are very — there are many.”

After CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out that adherents of QAnon have been responsible for kidnapping, for murder, for attempted assassinations and asked whether he condemns them, Wolf replied “right, absolutely.”

“Any individual group that’s kidnapping, murdering or doing any number of criminal and illegal attacks absolutely is not — I absolutely condemn,” Wolf said.

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Audience Development Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: