During a town hall presentation on October 15, President Trump alternately praised and refused to condemn the antisemitic conspiracy theory known as “QAnon,” despite repeated invitations to do so. When asked explicitly to disavow QAnon, Trump claimed ignorance of the tenets of the conspiracy theory—despite the fact he has previously praised QAnon followers and reposted QAnon-linked content to his social media. In the town hall back-and-forth, the president then went on to praise QAnon believers for “fight[ing] very hard.” Trump’s own Justice Department has previously labeled the QAnon movement a domestic terrorism threat.
Rev. Mary Katherine Morn, UUSC’s President and CEO, issued the following statement in response:
This town hall brought yet another jaw-dropping act of moral recklessness from the president. Just as he used an earlier debate to dog whistle to Proud Boys and other white supremacist groups, this time he chose to wink to his supporters among the QAnon movement. These efforts to normalize antisemitic, racist conspiracy theories are unspeakably dangerous; this path leads to exactly the kinds of persecution UUSC was founded to oppose.
The movement surrounding the far-right conspiracy theory has played a prominent role in Trump’s bid for reelection, and has been widely condemned for its use of disinformation as well as racist and antisemitic tropes. QAnon content closely resembles a century-old anti-Jewish hoax known as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” as well as similarly debunked antisemitic canards, such as the “Blood Libel.” For these reasons, civil rights organizations including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center consider QAnon a dangerous extremist movement.
UUSC calls on the president and all elected officials to disavow antisemitism, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and all forms of racial and religious bigotry. Instead of normalizing and approving them, leaders must work to eradicate these forms of structural oppression from our collective life.
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