Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., condemned QAnon on Wednesday, saying it has “no place in Congress” on the heels of several Republican candidates who espouse the theory winning congressional primaries.
“Qanon is a fabrication,” Kinzinger wrote on Twitter, a day after QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene won a Republican primary runoff election in Georgia.
“This ‘insider’ has predicted so much incorrectly (but people don’t remember PAST predictions) so now has switched to vague generalities,” he said. “Could be Russian propaganda or a basement dweller. Regardless, no place in Congress for these conspiracies.”
QAnon is a baseless conspiracy theory that alleges that there is a “deep state” run by political elites, business leaders and Hollywood celebrities with ties to a child sex trafficking ring. In addition to claiming that “deep state” members are pedophiles, the theory insists that they are actively working against President Donald Trump.
The online movement started in the fall of 2017 on internet message boards, with posts from a self-proclaimed government insider who calls himself “Q,” presumably who Kinzinger was referring to.
Roughly 7,000 Twitter accounts tied to QAnon were removed from Twitter in July.
Trump tweeted his support for Greene on Twitter, calling her “a real WINNER!” on Wednesday.
Republican Jeff Flake, a former senator from Arizona, also came out against QAnon on Thursday, saying that the future of the Republican Party depended on disassociating itself from the movement.
“If the GOP wants to be a relevant political force in the future, it cannot endorse those who embrace QAnon and other conspiracy theories,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Trump campaign criticized Kinzinger for coming out against QAnon candidates, questioning why he would bring up QAnon falsehoods instead of ones “pushed by Democrats.”
“When will @RepKinzinger condemn the Steele Dossier fabrications and conspiracy theories pushed by Democrats?” tweeted Matt Wolking, deputy director of communications for the Trump campaign. “That actually WAS Russian propaganda.”
Wolking was referring to the salacious dossier written by Christopher Steele, who was hired to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Trump employed a similar redirect against former President George W. Bush in May.
Trump called the investigation into his alleged ties with Russia a “hoax” after Bush asked Americans to unite during the coronavirus pandemic, criticizing the 43rd president for not coming to his defense.
“He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump hasn’t directly addressed the QAnon theory or its supporters, but he has retweeted accounts that promote the QAnon conspiracy theory at least 185 times, according to Media Matters for America, a progressive watchdog group.
According to the group, Trump family members, including Donald Trump Jr., have amplified QAnon accounts on social media, too.
The Washington Post reported this month that the Trump campaign has been courting QAnon followers more explicitly.
The Post reported that the campaign’s director of press communications went on a QAnon program, urging listeners to “sign up and attend a Trump Victory Leadership Initiative training,” and that QAnon iconography has been featured in official campaign advertisements in battleground states.
Contributing: Ryan W. Miller, Deirdre Shesgreen