President Donald Trump on Friday declined to answer whether he believes in the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, instead defending his recent decision to endorse a Republican congressional candidate in Georgia with history of promoting QAnon theories and making racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
Asked at a White House news conference about his endorsement of the Georgia House candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and whether he believes in the conspiracy theories she promotes, Trump pivoted to simply praising her.
“Well, she did very well in the election. She won by a lot. She was very popular. She comes from a great state and she had a tremendous victory so absolutely, I did congratulate her,” Trump said during a White House briefing.
He did not answer a follow-up question about whether he believes in the conspiracy theory she has embraced.
Trump has a history of promoting baseless conspiracy theories – from claiming that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United states to linking Sen. Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to suggesting the Clintons may have played a role in the death of Jeffrey Epstein.
The President has retweeted messages from supporters on Twitter who advertise in their bios that they ascribe to QAnon theories, their Q signs and Q T-shirts have been spotted at of several Trump’s rallies and events, and in 2019, the White House invited a QAnon supporter to an event described by the White House as a “social media summit” with conservative influencers.
Greene has repeated and promoted QAnon theories and phrases, praising the mythical Q as a “patriot” in a video from 2017 and describing the conspiracy theory as “something worth listening to and paying attention to.”
She also has a history of Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments, including saying that there is “an Islamic invasion into our government offices,” and calling the progressive billionaire activist George Soros, who is Jewish, a “Nazi.”
Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, responded with condemnation following a report in Politico surfacing racist remarks and other incendiary comments this summer.
Asked during a primary debate to respond to the criticism she faced from House GOP leadership over the comments, Greene said, “If you’re a Republican and if you are unapologetically conservative like I am you’re going to see people like me called a racist even when it’s very unwarranted.”
But this week, a McCarthy spokesperson, who declined to be named, said in a statement that House Republicans “look forward” to Greene’s victory in November.
In one indication that the win has divided Republicans, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois tweeted a rebuke of the QAnon conspiracy theory on Wednesday, saying there is “no place in Congress for these conspiracies.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein, Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Haley Byrd contributed to this report.