Friday, August 21, 2020


The GOP is now pretending that it has nothing to do with this Q fellow:
Vice President Pence said Friday that he has no knowledge of the QAnon conspiracy theory and that he dismisses it “out of hand.”

Pence was pressed in a pair of news interviews Friday morning on the conspiracy theory after President Trump earlier this week complimented its followers by saying they “love our country.”

“I don’t know anything about that conspiracy theory,” Pence told “CBS This Morning” host Tony Dokoupil when asked if he or Trump actually believed in QAnon....

Dokoupil continued to press Pence, accusing him of “adding oxygen” to the conspiracy theory by not denouncing it as false.

“I don’t know anything about that conspiracy theory. I don’t know anything about QAnon, and I dismiss it out of hand,” Pence replied.
The questioning in the second interview was a bit more pointed:
In a Friday morning interview on [CNN's] New Day, [anchor John] Berman confronted the vice president about Trump’s wink and nod to the group.

“The president seemed to embrace QAnon — which is a group that the FBI has warned very likely motivates some domestic extremists to commit criminal, sometimes violent activity,” Berman said — as Pence shook his head. “This is a group that peddles theories that say that some politicians and high-profile Hollywood celebrities are members of a satanic cult, that are also cannibals. They say that coronavirus is being disseminated by George Soros and Bill Gates with the help of 5G networks.

“The president says they love America. So how do those beliefs embody a love of America?”

“You said the president seemed to embrace that,” Pence replied. “I didn’t hear that. I heard the president talk about he appreciates people who support him.”
And then there's this:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has denounced the QAnon conspiracy theory, becoming the highest-ranking congressional Republican to publicly condemn the theory.

McCarthy said during an interview on Fox News on Thursday evening that “there is no place” in the GOP for the theory....

The unfounded theory drew broader attention after Marjorie Taylor Greene won the GOP primary for Georgia’s 14th District last week. Greene previously embraced the theory in YouTube videos but has since attempted to distance herself from it, saying it no longer represents her views.

“Let me be very clear," McCarthy told Fox News. "There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party. I do not support it and the candidate you talked about has denounced it."
Here's what Greene said last week:
"No, it doesn't represent me," Greene said of the "QAnon candidate" label she's garnered in the national media....

She said she got curious about QAnon during the Russia collusion investigation into Trump but has since found "misinformation" and chose another outlet by running for political office.

"I was just one of those people, just like millions of other Americans, that just started looking at other information," Greene said. "And so, yeah, there was a time there for a while that I had read about Q, posted about it, talked about it, which is some of these videos you've seen come out. But once I started finding misinformation, I decided that I would choose another path."
She's apparently not disavowing her past racist and Islamophobic remarks.

But I guess QAnon is a bridge too far these days if you're an ambitious GOP politician.

Greene's campaign advertising is now Republican boilerplate:
In her first TV ad that launched Tuesday on cable TV, Greene drives her Humvee out on an open field and shoots an AR-15 gun at tins that represent gun control, open borders and the Green New Deal -- blowing each one up.

So prominent Republicans now say QAnon is bad. And yet:
Late last month, as the Texas Republican Party was shifting into campaign mode, it unveiled a new slogan, lifting a rallying cry straight from a once-unthinkable source: the internet-driven conspiracy theory known as QAnon.

The new catchphrase, “We Are the Storm,” is an unsubtle cue to a group that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat. It is instantly recognizable among QAnon adherents....

The slogan can be found all over social media posts by QAnon followers, and now, too, in emails from the Texas Republican Party and on the T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts that it sells. It has even worked its way into the party’s text message system — a recent email from the party urged readers to “Text STORM2020” for updates.
I've seen it argued that this isn't necessarily a QAnon reference:

Were Trump supporters using the phrase "A storm is coming" in 2016? I found this from that year at a blog for a right-wing radio show called Liberty's Thunder:

But I assume that the use of this phrase rather, say, than the more famous "Where We Go One, We Go All" is meant to provide deniability. QAnon? Who, us? We had no idea that was a QAnon slogan! It may have been in use before QAnon, but QAnon has embraced it, and QAnon believers will aprreciate the nod and wink to their movement.

With Pence, McCarthy, and other Republicans -- Ben Sasse, Liz Cheney -- denouncing QAnon, I assume the GOP is now treating it the way Republicans starting with Nixon treated racism: as a means to win votes, but always in code (at least until Donald Trump came along).

Now, of course, Trump has made overt racism largely acceptable in the GOP. Kevin McCarthy isn't denouncing Marjorie Taylor Greene's racism. But the GOP is clearly going to try to pretend that it's not the QAnon party, while seeking to benefit from the affiliation.

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