President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he doesn’t know much about QAnon, a community that follows a person or group that is said to have high-level access inside the U.S. government and disseminates conspiracy theories.
“Well I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” the president told reporters in Washington when asked about QAnon.
Trump said, from what he hears, the people who are part of the community are watching what’s happening in cities like Portland and New York—where shootings have spiked amid efforts to defund the police—and don’t like it.
A reporter then outlined her interpretation of QAnon, telling the president that one of the theories bandied about is that Trump is “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals.”
“Does that sound like something you are behind?” she asked.
“I have not heard that. Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” Trump responded.
“If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there. And we are actually. We are saving the world from the radical left philosophies that will destroy this country. And when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow. The rest of the world would follow. That’s the importance of this country.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked earlier Thursday about QAnon, with a reporter wondering whether she had ever heard Trump talk about it.
“No, I’ve never heard of that. There’s a lot of media focus on that, but certainly never heard of that from the president,” McEnany said.
Theories promoted by QAnon include the existence of a plot by a group of “deep state” actors inside the government opposing Trump and the existence of a pedophile ring that reaches the highest-levels of society.
A moderator of a private QAnon discussion group on Facebook, a former U.S government security adviser, told The Epoch Times in 2018 that QAnon represents alleged updates on the promises made by Trump from the beginning of his campaign to “drain the swamp” by purging corruption, expose the “fake news media,” and stand up to globalist and special interest groups.
The theories aren’t widely known. When asked earlier this year how much they’d heard or read about QAnon, just 3 percent of respondents to a Pew Research survey answered “a lot,” while 76 percent said “nothing at all.”
Social media platforms have increasingly targeted QAnon accounts.
Facebook in May purged accounts linked to the community, saying they were in violation of a ban on “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” Facebook on Wednesday removed thousands of groups linked to QAnon, the far-left Antifa network, and various militias.
“We already remove content calling for or advocating violence, and we ban organizations and individuals that proclaim a violent mission. However, we have seen growing movements that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior,” Facebook said in a statement.
Twitter last month banned 7,000 QAnon accounts and limited the reach of 150,000 others as part of efforts to crack down “on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm.”
Tom Ozimek, Joshua Philipp, and Allen Zhong contributed to this report.