Many celebrities have criticized President Donald Trump following his Thursday night town hall on NBC, when he dodged a question about the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
When NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie summarized the theory to Trump (“Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that”), she also asked him to say that it’s not true and to disavow the conspiracy. “I know nothing about QAnon,” Trump responded.
When Guthrie said that she’d just told him the main points of the theory, Trump responded, “You told me, but what you tell me doesn’t necessarily make it fact.”
Trump continued, “I know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.” The president then offered to research it, before pivoting to speaking about Antifa.
In the wake of that exchange, a number of celebrities have called out Trump for dodging the question. Director Rob Reiner said that by dodging the question he was “embracing” the group, but said that the hysteria will be over soon, assuming Trump loses re-election. Katie Couric said that it was “insane” for Trump to say he doesn’t know anything about QAnon. Author Nathan Rabin unpacked Trump’s confusing “three-step” approach to the questions about the conspiracy theory.
YouTuber and musician Jarrod Alonge tweeted that he didn’t believe that Trump knows nothing about the conspiracy. “[H]e knows the conspiracy is helping his campaign,” he wrote. “In case that wasn’t abundantly clear.” Singer-songwriter Cary Brothers expressed a similar sentiment, saying that Trump was pandering to the group.
Radio personality Mark Simone defended Trump’s deflecting of the question, calling the conspiracy theorists who perpetuate QAnon “small chat groups on line [sic],” and said that a president is “supposed to denounce and worry about violent groups rioting and burning down cities.”
Comedian Brent Terhune made fun of Trump’s response in a satirical video. “I need a president who talks in soundbytes, and when he’s asked about the sh**ty things his supporters do, he’ll say, ‘Oh, I don’t know anything about that, but let me tell you about Antifa.’ It’s like really bad improv,” he said.
A few others also took the QAnon dodging to serve as an example of why Trump should not be re-elected, like musician Ben Lee and talk show host Chip Franklin.
Donald Trump’s campaign did not respond to Newsweek’s emailed request for comment in time for publication.
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