President Trump addressed the QAnon conspiracy theory for the first time Wednesday—and he offered what the Hill calls "measured praise" for supporters of a fringe group labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat by the FBI. "I don’t know much about the movement besides that they like me very much, which I appreciate," Trump said during a White House press briefing, per Politico. He described QAnon followers as "people that don’t like seeing what’s going in places like Portland and Chicago" and added: "I heard these are people that love our country." Trump has previously ignored questions about the conspiracy theory, Fox reports. Last week, Trump praised Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed support for QAnon, after she won a GOP primary runoff in Georgia.
The Guardian reports that Trump "replied flippantly" when a reporter told him QAnon followers believe he is "secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals." "Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?" Trump said. "If I can help save the world from problems, I am willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there." Analysts say the president's remarks are likely to embolden QAnon followers. "Condemning this movement should not be difficult,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, tells the New York Times. "It’s downright dangerous when a leader not only refuses to do so, but also wonders whether what they are doing is 'a good thing.'" (Facebook is cracking down on QAnon.)