Trump’s ‘odd answer’ on conspiracy theory
President Donald Trump left viewers baffled when he answered a question from a reporter at the Democratic National Convention.
Mr Trump held a media briefing at the White House where NBC News correspondent Shannon Pettypiece asked him what he thought of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
"During the pandemic, the QAnon movement appears to be gaining a lot of followers. Can you talk about what you think about that, and what you have to say to people who are following this movement right now?" Pettypiece asked.
"Well I don't know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much. Which I appreciate," Mr Trump replied.
"But I don't know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity, and from what I hear, these are people that - when they watch the streets of Portland … these are people that don't like what's going on in places like Portland, in places like Chicago, and New York, and other cities.
"And I've heard these are people that love our country. And they just don't like seeing it. So I don't know, really, anything about it, other than they do supposedly like me.
"And they also would like to see problems in these areas - like, especially the areas that we're talking about - go away. Because there's no reason the Democrats can't run a city."
'I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me’ — Here's how Pres. Trump responded to a question about QAnon conspiracy theorists pic.twitter.com/e8ViJT8QM0— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 19, 2020
Pettypiece followed up, giving Mr Trump a brief rundown of the kooky stuff QAnon believes.
"The crux of the theory is this belief that you are secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of paedophiles and cannibals. Does that sound like something you are behind?" she asked.
"Well, I haven't heard that. But is that supposed to be a bad thing, or a good thing? You know," Mr Trump said.
"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.
"And when you look at some of the things these people are saying, with defund the police, and no borders, open borders, everybody just pour right into our country, no testing, no nothing - you know, you talk about testing. No testing. Mexico, as you know, has a very high rate of infection. The wall is now, next week, going to be 300 miles long. Our numbers are extraordinary on the border. And this is through luck, perhaps, more than talent, although the talent is getting it built when one party chooses not to allow it. You don't hear talk about the wall anymore.
"But I will say this. We need strength in our country, not weakness. Too much weakness."
FBI: The deranged QAnon conspiracy theory poses a potential domestic terrorism threat— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 19, 2020
Combating Terrorism Center at West Point: it's a public security threat & potential domestic terror threat
Trump: "these are people that love our country."
Trump refuses to denounce one of the most toxic and dangerous conspiracies in America. He embraces QAnon's support for him. He was told part of their belief system and he didn't reject it. This is the leader of the Republican Party.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 19, 2020
TRUMP'S 'BIG MISTAKE'
Australian reporter Jonathan Swan was asked for his reaction on Fox News when anchor Bret Baier asked if he thought Mr Trump answered the question well.
"It was a very odd answer to me. I thought it was a pretty easy lay-up, to condemn the QAnon movement," said Swan, a political reporter for Axios.
Baier then threw the same question to Republican political strategist Karl Rove.
"Big mistake," Rove said.
"This is a group of nuts and kooks, and he ought to disavow them. They may like him, but they like him because they think he is fighting an incredible war against forces of (pedophilic) evil.
"It's just ridiculous. Disavow them, get done with it."
Originally published as Trump's 'odd answer' on conspiracy theory