“I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” he told a reporter when asked about QAnon at a White House press briefing. “I have heard that it is gaining in popularity.”
“I’ve heard these are people that love our country,” he added.
When the reporter pointed out that followers of the convoluted theory believe that Trump is secretly saving the world from a satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals, Trump said, “I haven’t heard that. But is that supposed to be a bad thing? ... If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it.”
QAnon has fostered an online extremist movement that has been identified by the FBI as a potential domestic terrorism threat. Among other baseless conspiracy theories peddled by its followers, some claim that Trump is taking down a secret global band of “deep state” Hollywood elites and politicians who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. The group has been linked to kidnappings, murder and other violent crimes.
Earlier Wednesday, Facebook announced it had removed and restricted thousands of pages, groups, accounts and ads linked to QAnon and offline anarchist and militia groups in an effort to stifle their spread.
The president’s blasé praise for the conspiracy’s supporters and failure to condemn them stunned journalists and commentators online, many of whom shared resources about the group’s dangerous actions and beliefs.