QAnon, a debunked, right-wing conspiracy theory once on the political fringes, has seeped into the political landscape and into this week’s Republican National Convention.
The same day a bipartisan pair of lawmakers introduced legislation condemning the conspiracy theory, a speaker was removed from the RNC lineup for retweeting posts linked to QAnon.
Here’s what QAnon is and why it is causing controversy this week.
What is it?
The QAnon conspiracy theory, which the FBI has called a domestic terrorism threat, is based on unfounded claims that there is a “deep state” apparatus run by political elites, business leaders and Hollywood celebrities who are also pedophiles and actively working against President Donald Trump.
It includes the belief that Trump is secretly saving the world from a satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals and has been linked to some violent crimes across the country.
How has it come up at the RNC?
QAnon also caused controversy during the Republican National Convention.
Tuesday, Mary Ann Mendoza, an RNC speaker, was removed from the night’s lineup after earlier retweeting anti-Semitic posts tied to the conspiracy theory. After her removal, she apologized in a later post for “not paying attention to the intent of the whole message.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia congressional candidate tied to the theory, tweeted Tuesday that she would be attending Trump’s RNC speech in person Thursday.
“I’m honored and thrilled to be invited to attend President Trump’s acceptance speech Thursday evening at the White House,” she tweeted Tuesday. “I’m also equally excited to vote for him again November 3rd, and I’m working hard all over Georgia to help him win.”
What candidates have been linked to it?
Despite criticism, several QAnon-linked candidates have won Republican primaries this year. Progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America counts at least 19 Republican congressional candidates linked to QAnon, and several are likely to be elected to Congress in the November elections.
Greene is likely to win the general election in her deep-red district in northwestern Georgia. Trump called her a “future Republican Star” in a tweet after her primary win, though White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Trump had not “done a deep dive into the statements” of Greene.
Another QAnon-linked candidate, Lauren Boebert, beat incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton for the Republican primary in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District earlier this year. Boebert is also favored to win the general election in the district.
Both Greene and Boebert have tried to distance themselves from their previous connections to the conspiracy theories.
“QAnon is a lot of things to different people,” Boebert said. “I was very vague in what I said before. I’m not into conspiracies. I’m into freedom and the Constitution of the United States of America. I’m not a follower.”
What has Trump said?
Trump said at a press briefing on Aug. 19 that he did not know much about QAnon other than that…
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