- Trump and Biden held dueling town halls Thursday in lieu of their second scheduled debate
- Trump declined to disavow the QAnon conspiracy theory, instead saying they are fighting pedophilia and he supports that
- The QAnon theory led a North Carolina man to shoot up a pizzeria out of which he was convinced Hillary Clinton was running a child sex trafficking ring
At his debate with Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, President Donald Trump declined to denounce white supremacy. At his ABC town hall on Thursday, the president declined to disavow the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory and earned the sobriquet “crazy uncle” from moderator Savannah Guthrie.
Trump appeared for the Thursday night town hall after declining a virtual debate with Biden because the moderator would have had the ability to cut him off, labeling such an appearance a waste of his time. Biden held his own town hall on NBC in the same time slot.
Trump, asked to condemn the QAnon theory, initially responded he didn’t know the details even though he has retweeted people spouting it.
The theory holds that Democrats are actually members of a satanic pedophile ring and that Trump is working secretly to bring them down. The FBI has condemned the theory as dangerous.
During the 2016 campaign, it led a North Carolina man to shoot up a Washington pizzeria from which he thought Hillary Clinton was leading a child sex trafficking ring. Other adherents have been implicated in killings, kidnappings and threats.
Even though Guthrie explained what the QAnon theory was, Trump insisted he knew nothing about it beyond its subscribers are against pedophilia and then tried to pivot to antifa, which he accuses of burning down cities run by Democrats.
“Let me just tell you, what I do hear about it, is they are very strongly against pedophilia. And I agree with that. I mean, I do agree with that. And I agree with it very strongly,” Trump said, adding he has “no idea” whether a satanic pedophile cult run by Democrats exists “and neither do you know that.”
When Guthrie asked Trump about his retweet of a conspiracy theory that Biden had SEAL Team Six killed to cover up the fake death of Osama bin Laden, Trump again said he didn’t know anything about the veracity of the conspiracy theory.
“I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position,” Trump said, adding he puts out a lot of retweets.
Guthrie shot back with: “I don’t get that. You’re the president. You’re not like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just – retweet, whatever.”
The exchange took off on Twitter: