White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the White House does not "even know what that is" when Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked him about QAnon. The baseless conspiracy theory includes claims President Donald Trump has a secret plan to stop a Satanic cult made up of elites involved in child-trafficking and controlling world events, as well as other theories on vaccines and the coronavirus pandemic. Trump welcomed their support in a White House press conference Wednesday, even though the FBI labeled QAnon as a "domestic terror threat" last year.
Towards the end of Wallace's interview with Meadows, the host said he could "end this controversy right now" and asked the former North Carolina congressman if the president condemns QAnon. "We don’t even know what it is," Meadows replied. "We're not going to address it, we're going to talk about things that are important." Meadows tried to change the subject, telling Wallace, "If you want to talk about conspiracies, let's get back to talking about how the FBI and others within the FBI spied on the Trump campaign."
"Let's look at domestic terrorism, and look at Antifa" -- Mark Meadows melts down when Chris Wallace asks him about Trump's refusal to disavow the lunatic QAnon conspiracy theory pic.twitter.com/HHIu8YAWMV— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 23, 2020
Wallace pointed out that QAnon is considered a "hate group." Meadows responded, "If it's a hate group, I can tell you this president is not for hate! So I can tell you that if it's a hate group, let's look at domestic terrorism and look at Antifa and a number of other areas and quit spending time on something that 81% of Republicans don't even know what you're talking about."
On Wednesday, NBC News reporter Shannon Pettypiece asked Trump about QAnon. The president said he does not "know much about the movement other than I understand that they like me very much, which I appreciate." After Pettypiece noted that they believe Trump is saving the world from a "Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals," Trump asked if this is "supposed" to be a good thing or a bad thing. "If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it, I’m willing to put myself out there," Trump said.
Since Trump's comments, other White House officials said they did not know much about QAnon. On Thursday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News she "never heard" Trump talk about it before. Vice President Mike Pence told CNN he does not "know anything" about it, although he had heard of it.
The QAnon conspiracy theory dates back to 2017. It centers on a supposed "deep state" acting against Trump, who is trying to take down a Satanic cult of pedophiles. No part of the theory has been found to be true, but a growing number of supporters have shown up at Trump's rallies. Believers have also run for elected office, including Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won a Republican congressional primary. She later said she is not a "QAnon candidate."