Donald Trump has proven time and again that he is not really a leader. He proved it again earlier this week. During a Wednesday press conference, he openly wondered why people are so upset about the growing spread of “QAnon,” a bonkers and thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory that claims Trump is about to open the trap door under a nest of pedophiles.
Lest you believe this is snark, watch that moment here.
When asked about QAnon’s growing following in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump claimed that he didn’t know much about it. However, he said, he did know that its followers “like me very much” and “love our country.” He noted that its followers were upset at what they were seeing in the protests that broke out this summer, and wanted to see “problems” in the cities that have seen protests “go away.”
Reminded that QAnon’s followers believed Trump was saving the world from “a Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” Trump openly wondered if that was a bad thing. “If I can help save the world from problems,” he said, “I’m willing to do it.” He then added that he did see himself as working to save the world from “a radical left philosophy” that was bent on destroying the United States before destroying the world.
When CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza heard this, he denounced it as “incredibly dangerous.” Cillizza noted that QAnon has been labeled a domestic terrorist threat by Trump’s own FBI, in part because of numerous online and offline threats by its adherents. Based on that history, Cillizza said, Trump’s coddling of QAnon potentially “emboldens” its followers to “act on their wild conspiracy theories in violent ways.”
Indeed, just hours before Trump took the podium, Facebook had nuked a tranche of groups and pages that promoted QAnon due to said threats. Earlier, Twitter had nuked a number of ardent pro-QAnon accounts.
Colbert King of The Washington Post was equally dumbfounded. He likened Trump’s claim that QAnon followers like him and love this country to how he called the racist thugs in Charlottesville “very fine people.” To King’s mind, it contrasted sharply with a speech Hubert Humphrey gave at Howard University in 1960, during King’s student days. When King asked Humphrey what he thought about anti-Catholic bile being hurled at John F. Kennedy in West Virginia, Humphrey said that he did not want to win because of bigotry. To King’s mind, Trump’s embrace of QAnon is “the very definition of moral bankruptcy.”
Most fair-minded people on both sides of the aisle have had similar reactions. It’s hard to blame them. The president of the United States has openly embraced a noxious and dangerous conspiracy theory–all because its followers supposedly like him.
But one of Trump’s most diehard supporters has let it be known he’s outraged at the outrage over these remarks. That would be black conservative pastor Jesse Lee Peterson. On the Friday edition of his show, Peterson claimed that those upset about Trump’s embrace of QAnon weren’t just wrong, but evil. Watch here.
Just over one hour and 24 minutes into the show, Peterson described the outrage over Trump’s comments as “an example of wickedness in high places.” He thought that if there was anything to the reports that Trump was working to root out pedophilia, he didn’t see what was wrong with it.
There’s a lot wrong with it, Jesse Lee. This movement’s followers have relentlessly harassed and trolled innocent people online. Indeed, according to a number of leading QAnon promoters, ardent critics of Trump are covering for pedophiles, or may themselves be pedophiles. In other words–these people don’t care about protecting kids. They want to bludgeon Trump critics into silence.
As well, they have been linked to numerous cases of real-world violent behavior. In 2018, a rifle-toting QAnon follower held up traffic at Hoover Dam to demand the release of a supposed report that would expose the hold of the “deep state” on the government. More recently, QAnon followers have kidnapped kids and murdered a suspected mafioso.
And yet, if you believe Peterson, if you’re upset by this, you’re okay with “wickedness in high places.” Sounds like the good pastor is calling evil good and good evil.
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