An ongoing list of how Republicans have built up the QAnon conspiracy theory
Update (12/2/20): The paragraph about QAnon-supporting Republican candidates has been updated to reflect the November 2020 election results.
President Donald Trump has strongly endorsed Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican congressional candidate who is likely to become the first open and avowed QAnon supporter in Congress. Trump’s backing of Greene is one of many actions that the Republican Party has taken to help build up the violence-linked conspiracy theory.
QAnon is a conspiracy theory based on cryptic posts to online message boards from an anonymous user known as “Q" that have spread rampantly on social media and among fringe right-wing media. QAnon conspiracy theorists essentially believe that President Donald Trump is secretly working to take down the purported “deep state,” a supposed cabal of high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings. The FBI has labeled the conspiracy theory as a potential domestic terror threat.
There were at least 89 Republican candidates who ran for Congress in 2020 who expressed support for QAnon (two of them won: Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Green). There were at least 20 Republican state legislature candidates in 2020 who expressed support for QAnon (four of them won: Eric Berthel, Rob Chase, Susan Lynn, and Anthony Sabatini).
The following is a list of actions that Republican Party officials have taken that have helped build up QAnon. This list will be updated.
The Trump campaign and national Republicans
- Trump endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theory during his August 19 press conference. He said that he understands that QAnon believers “like me very much, which I appreciate … These are people that love our country.” Trump later said in response to a description of QAnon: “Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? I mean, 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. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country, and when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow.” QAnon supporters responded by celebrating his remarks.
- Trump backed the QAnon conspiracy theory again in an October 15 town hall on NBC, stating: “I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.”
- Trump has amplified QAnon-promoting Twitter accounts in at least 258 instances, according to a Media Matters count.
- Trump endorsed Georgia congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has promoted QAnon on social media, said that she follows the conspiracy theory, and claimed that “Q” is a “patriot” and “worth listening to.” Trump tweeted on August 12: “Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up - a real WINNER!”
- The National Congressional Campaign Committee is backing Marjorie Taylor Greene.
- Trump and the National Congressional Campaign Committee have both backed the Colorado congressional campaign of Lauren Boebert, who has expressed support for QAnon. (Boebert has attempted to distance herself from the conspiracy theory after criticism.)
- Trump campaign official Erin Perrine appeared on a QAnon program in 2019 to recruit campaign volunteers. (The interview did not include a direct mention of QAnon.)
- When The Washington Post requested a White House comment about QAnon, spokesperson Sarah Matthews responded by accusing the paper of being the one that “peddles in conspiracy theories.”
- Instead of condemning QAnon, the National Republican Congressional Committee has attempted to deflect criticism of QAnon by equating its backers to supporters of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and pivoting to “Russia conspiracy network MSNBC.”
- Presidential son Eric Trump posted a QAnon image on Instagram in June. He later deleted it.
- Dan Scavino, the White House deputy chief of staff for communications, tweeted an image in March that had a “Q” in it.
- While working for the Trump campaign, current White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany interviewed a QAnon supporter who discussed the conspiracy theory. When McEnany asked him if he could say one thing to Trump, what would it be, the person said, “Who is Q?” McEnany replied that she would “pass all of this along.”
- Two advisory board members of Trump’s campaign have expressed support for QAnon: Tony Shaffer and Stacey Dash. Shaffer has stated that QAnon “has some really good inside information” and that “there's something there,” while Dash has repeatedly posted pro-QAnon material on social media.
- Trump and his campaign have touted the endorsement of right-wing commentator Paul E. Vallely, a retired U.S. Army major general and QAnon conspiracy theorist.
- Matt Wolking, the Trump campaign's deputy director of communications - rapid response, criticized Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Twitter after he denounced QAnon.
State and local Republican organizations
- The Colorado Republican Party is backing the congressional campaign of Lauren Boebert.
- The Arizona Republican Party and chair Kelli Ward are backing the congressional campaign of self-described QAnon follower Daniel Wood.
- The Oregon Republican Party is supporting U.S. Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins, who is an avowed QAnon supporter.
- The California Republican Party has backed at least four congressional candidates for 2020 who have expressed support for QAnon. They are: Buzz Patterson (Congressional District 7), Nikka Piterman (Congressional District 13), Alison Hayden (Congressional District 15), and Erin Cruz (Congressional District 36).
- The Delaware Republican Party is backing the Senate campaign of QAnon supporter Lauren Witzke.
- The Hawaii Republican Party is supporting the congressional campaign of QAnon supporter Ron Curtis.
- Republican organizations in Texas, Oklahoma, and California promoted a pro-Trump event on September 5 by sharing a flyer with the QAnon slogan. Those organizations are: The Oklahoma County Republican Party (Oklahoma), the Garfield County Republican Party (Oklahoma), the Republican Party of Texas, the Fresno County Republican Party (California), and the Republican Party of McLennan County (Texas).
- The Republican Party of St. Lucie County (Florida), the Volusia County Republican Party (Florida), and the Stephens County Republican Party (Georgia) have promoted QAnon on their Facebook pages.