Bret Baier waited until the final few minutes of his evening Fox News show on Wednesday to bring up President Trump’s praise for a group of conspiracy theorists whom the FBI has labeled a domestic terror threat.
“These are people that love our country,” Trump said of QAnon during his latest press briefing. Asked about the movement’s delusional belief that it’s “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” the president answered, “Well, I haven’t heard that. But is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? You know, 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.”
As Baier put it to his Fox News panel, QAnon “among other things, believe that the president is secretly fighting a cabal of child sex predators including prominent Democrats.” He apparently didn’t feel the need to point out that those beliefs are baseless—nor did he mention any of the violent acts its adherents have committed—before asking, “Do you think he answered that well?”
“It was a very odd answer to me,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan said, chuckling uncomfortably. “I thought it was a pretty easy layup to condemn the QAnon movement.”
Surprisingly, Republican strategist Karl Rove took an even harsher tone on the matter, calling Trump’s answer a “big mistake.”
“This is a group of nuts and kooks and he ought to disavow them,” Rove said. “They may like him, but they like him because they think he is fighting an incredible war against forces of ‘pedographic’ evil and it’s just ridiculous. Disavow them, get done with it.”
Not only has Trump embraced QAnon in a general sense, he has also specifically endorsed the QAnon believer Majorie Taylor Greene, who won a primary runoff in Georgia this past week. “Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent,” the president tweeted after her victory. “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up—a real WINNER!”
His campaign’s national press secretary Hogan Gidley, however, appears to have missed the memo. Asked in a podcast interview before Trump’s latest remarks on Wednesday if the president believes any QAnon theories, Gidley replied, “Oh gosh no… it’s junk.”