Trump Chief of Staff Says Administration Doesn't Know What QAnon Is, Despite FBI Warning It's a Terror Threat

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that the administration doesn't even know what the QAnon conspiracy theory is, after President Donald Trump spoke favorably of its supporters last week.

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace confronted Meadows over the president's remarks during a Sunday interview, asking the chief of staff if the president disavows the completely baseless theory.

The conspiracy theory claims—without any evidence—that Trump is working to save the world from a satanic cult of cannibals and pedophiles connected to Hollywood, Democratic lawmakers, and the so-called "deep state" government. FBI documents reported on last year have shown that the bureau believes adherents to the conspiracy theory represent a domestic terror threat.

"Well, listen, we—we don't even know what it is," Meadows told Wallace, saying that he needed to Google what QAnon was last week after the president was asked directly about it.

"It's not a central part of what the president is talking about. I don't even know anything about it. I don't even know if it's credible," he said.

QAnon
A woman holds a Trump 2020 flag and a QAnon flag outside of Mankato Regional Airport as President Donald Trump makes a campaign stop on August 17 in Mankato, Minnesota Stephen Maturen/Getty

During a Wednesday press conference, Trump said he "heard these are people that love our country," referring to believers in QAnon. "So I don't know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me," he said.

After a reporter explained what the theory claimed, Trump responded saying: "Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?"

"If I can help save the world from problems, I am willing to do it. I'm willing to put myself out there," he said.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany downplayed Trump's remarks in a Thursday interview with Fox News. The president is "talking about his supporters," McEnany said. "He believes his supporters are good hardworking people that love this country. He's not in the business of a 'basket of deplorable' politics."

FBI documents reported by Yahoo! News in August 2019 showed that the bureau views believers in the conspiracy theory as a growing domestic terrorism threat. According to the report, the FBI is concerned about "conspiracy theory–driven domestic extremists," specifically mentioning QAnon and other right-wing conspiracy theories.

"The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts," the document explained.

Newsweek reached out to the FBI for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The president was asked about QAnon last week as multiple GOP congressional candidates who have won their primaries believe and support the baseless conspiracy. Trump has publicly backed several of these candidates and also repeatedly retweeted posts featuring QAnon-centric content since he's been in the White House. Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter have increased their efforts to take down and censor social media accounts promoting QAnon.

"QAnon is promoting political disinformation, medical disinformation and carrying on a legacy of anti-Semitic tropes," Joan Donovan, research director at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, told The New York Times last week. "Attention from the president is only going to embolden these groups to grow their ranks."

Trump Chief of Staff Says Administration Doesn't Know What QAnon Is, Despite FBI Warning It's a Terror Threat | U.S.