President Donald Trump admitted that he believes “very strongly” in one of the core tenets of QAnon, the collective delusion that alleges he is fighting a deep state conspiracy of satanist who sexually abuse children, while also claiming that he knew "nothing about it" during NBC’s town hall Thursday night.
Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie asked Trump to disavow the mass delusion as part of a line of questioning around whether the president would denounce white supremacy, which he declined to do during the first presidential debate last month.
“It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that,” Guthrie told Trump. “Now can you just once and for all state that that is completely not true and disavow QAnon in its entirety?”
“I know nothing about QAnon,” Trump responded. “I know very little.”
Guthrie interjected that she just explained to him what it was, to which Trump replied, “you told me, but what you tell me doesn’t necessarily make it fact.”
“I know nothing about it,” he continued. “I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it.”
QAnon is a wide-ranging set of outlandish beliefs that began on anonymous messaging boards in 2017. Believers think a cabal of satanic elites rules the world. There have been real-world effects: A Q believer was in an armed 2018 standoff at the Hoover Dam. Other believers either oppose coronavirus restrictions or don’t believe the virus exists and are largely — though not wholly — supporters of the president. During a press conference at the White House in August, the president refused to denounce the mass delusion.
Recently, people who believe in the mass delusion have seized on legitimate efforts to fight human trafficking and child sex abuse to legitimize their false beliefs.
Trump’s comments come two months after Republican Sen. Ben Sasse criticized the president for embracing QAnon believers, saying, “QAnon is nuts — and real leaders call conspiracy theories conspiracy theories."
When asked about Sasse’s comments, Trump said, “He may be right. I just don't know about QAnon.”
Guthrie pressed him on the question, saying, “You do know,” which seemed to annoy Trump as he repeatedly said, “I don’t know.”
“You tell me all about it. Let's waste a whole show. You start off with white supremacy; I denounce it. You start off with something else. Let's go,” he said. “Keep asking me these questions.”
“Let me just tell you what I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia and I agree with that. I mean, I do agree with that,” Trump continued. “And I agree with it very strongly.”
Guthrie tried to ask him again whether the theory was true. Trump said, “I have no idea. I know nothing about that,” before launching into a tirade about antifa.