President Donald Trump repeatedly said he denounced white supremacy Thursday during an NBC town hall, after criticism that he had not clearly done so in the past, while saying he knows “nothing” about the QAnon conspiracy theory except that they are “very much against pedophilia,” revealing at least partial knowledge of the right-wing conspiracy.
“Are you listening? I denounce white supremacy,” Trump told moderator Savannah Guthrie, repeatedly saying he denounced white supremacy and that “I’ve denounced white supremacy for years.”
Trump refused to denounce the right-wing pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy, saying “I know nothing about QAnon.”
Guthrie responded by saying that Trump did in fact know about QAnon, and after asking Trump whether he knows that QAnon followers believe there is a global cabal of Satanic pedophiles running left-wing politics in the U.S., the president said, “I have no idea.”
Trump said one thing he does know about QAnon is that they are “very much against pedophilia.”
Trump came under fire in the first presidential debate for telling the right-wing Proud Boys group, which is often tied to white supremacy, to “stand down and stand by,” which many viewed as missing an opportunity to denounce white supremacy. On QAnon, Trump has repeatedly refused opportunities to denounce the movement, even as numerous other Republicans have publicly denounced QAnon.
Trump participated in a town hall at the same time as Democratic candidate Joe Biden on ABC. NBC’s decision to hold the town hall received plenty of blowback, even among prominent former employees, who felt holding the town hall at the same time as Biden’s, which was already scheduled, was not in the public interest.