The Republican Party is risking becoming a cult as it rejects reality to embrace unhinged conspiracy theories, according to a new report.
"A small but growing number of Republicans — including a heavily favored Republican congressional candidate in Georgia — are donning the QAnon mantle, ushering its adherents in from the troll-infested fringes of the internet and potentially transforming the wild conspiracy theory into an offline political movement, with supporters running for Congress and flexing their political muscle at the state and local levels," The New York Times reported Thursday.
"Chief among the party’s QAnon promoters is President Trump himself. Since the theory first emerged three years ago, he has employed a wink-and-nod approach to the conspiracy theory, retweeting its followers but conspicuously ignoring questions about it. Yet with the election drawing ever closer and Mr. Trump’s failure to manage the Covid-19 pandemic harming his re-election prospects, the White House and some Trump allies appear to have taken to openly courting believers," the newspaper explained.
"The president, during a White House news conference on Wednesday, described QAnon followers — some of whom have been charged with murder, domestic terrorism and planned kidnapping — as 'people that love our country.' The president has retweeted QAnon followers at least 201 times, according to an analysis by Media Matters. Some of his children have posted social media messages related to the conspiracy theory," the newspaper noted.
Reporters Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman interviewed Rudy Oeftering, a Texas Republican precinct captain who formerly chaired the Texas Association of Business.
“We once had Republican leaders that would work to keep extremists from the levers of power. Now they embrace them and their crazy and dangerous ideas,” Oeftering warned. "The lunatics are truly running the asylum."
.@BenSasse on Trump’s remarks on Q-Anon yesterday: “Q-Anon is nuts — and real leaders call conspiracy theories con… https://t.co/4NFq6iEfIv— Seung Min Kim (@Seung Min Kim) 1597923483.0