This was not the first time Trump has praised QAnon, which the FBI has called a domestic terrorism threat. “I heard these are those who love our nation,” he mentioned in August. By one count, he has amplified Twitter accounts that promote QAnon greater than 200 occasions. But the query tonight got here in entrance of an unlimited viewers, and as soon as once more, the president couldn’t carry himself to criticize a gaggle, nevertheless giant or small, that gives him with loyal assist. Trump’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, had no such bother denouncing QAnon last month; he known as the motion “embarrassing” and “harmful,” suggesting that its followers make the most of the mental-health advantages in the Affordable Care Act.
It’s not clear how far the QAnon conspiracy has unfold in the U.S., however it’s spreading deeper into the nation’s halls of energy. Various Republican congressional candidates are followers of QAnon, and one in every of them, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, is just about assured of profitable a seat in the House this fall. Hours earlier than Trump’s city corridor, Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia—who has tied herself intently to the president—enthusiastically accepted Greene’s endorsement in her bid for a full six-year time period.
Nor was QAnon the solely conspiracy principle Trump hedged on throughout the city corridor, held as a quasi-substitute for the second presidential debate, which was canceled after the president fell sick with COVID-19. He dodged when Guthrie requested why he had retweeted a tweet selling the absurdity that Joe Biden had ordered the demise of the Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden. “That was a retweet. That was an opinion of anyone,” Trump protested. “I do not get it,” Guthrie replied. “You’re the president. You’re not somebody’s loopy uncle.”
It’s tempting to conclude that Trump merely does not know the distinction. But that will be overly charitable to the president. He’s a politician who caters to his base, who does not dare alienate the individuals who put him in workplace, and who he must salvage his probability at a second time period. In 2016, that base included individuals who believed that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and had gained the White House illegitimately. Once in workplace, Trump’s base got here to imagine there was a “deep state” conspiracy in opposition to the president. And now that base of Americans whom Trump will not cross consists of the followers of QAnon.