Bush, who ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, questioned why the president didn’t rebuke supporters of QAnon conspiracy theory.
“Why in the world would the President not kick Q’anon supporters’ butts? Nut jobs, [racists], haters have no place in either Party,” Bush tweeted.
Why in the world would the President not kick Q’anon supporters’ butts? Nut jobs, rascists, haters have no place in either Party. https://t.co/uWIMg7clJz
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 19, 2020
His comments were in response to Trump’s remarks earlier Wednesday offering measured praise for followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory. The president dismissed the core message of the right-wing conspiracy theory, and instead highlighted that its followers support him.
Trump told reporters he doesn’t “know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.”
“These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland and places like Chicago and other cities and states,” Trump said, mischaracterizing what the conspiracy theory focuses on. “I’ve heard these are people that love our country and they just don’t like seeing it. I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me. And they also would like to see problems in these areas … go away.”
The QAnon conspiracy theory posits that Trump and his allies are working together to expose and arrest an underground cabal of global elites who control the government and run child sex trafficking rings. After a reporter attempted to explain the conspiracy theory to Trump, he said he hadn’t “heard that.”
“But is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” Trump replied. “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there.”
Trump’s comments Wednesday followed a briefing last week during which he had dodged a question about whether he supported the conspiracy theory.
The once-fringe theory has been pushed more into the mainstream in recent months. One Republican congressional candidate in a deep-red Georgia district, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who openly supports the theory, won her primary this month.
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