Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Republican chairwoman refuses to condemn QAnon, instead pivots to Antifa

RNC chair Ronna McDaniel dismisses conspiracy theorists as fringe group, ‘not part of our party’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 19 October 2020 08:12 BST
Republican chair refuses to condemn QAnon

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel sparred with host George Stephanopoulos over the relevancy of QAnon to the election.

She also avoided an outright condemnation of the fringe conspiracy theory group, instead saying that she dismisses it, before pivoting to mention Antifa.

Mr Stephanopoulos was wrapping up the interview with a final question, asking Ms McDaniel if, as head of the Republican party, she would condemn QAnon.

He referred to her uncle, Senator Mitt Romney, who called out Donald Trump for refusing to condemn QAnon, calling the conspiracy theory absurd and dangerous.

Ms McDaniel responded: “I knew you were going to ask me that question. I knew it because it's something the voters are not even thinking about. It's a fringe group. It’s not part of our party. The vice president said: ‘I dismiss it out of hand’. The president said: ‘You know what, I don't know anything about this group’. But, of course, you’re going to ask me about that because it has absolutely nothing to do with this election.”

“So do you condemn it?” asked Mr Stephanopoulos.

“Antifa — Antifa is burning down cities right now,” she began. “I just told you, dismiss them out of hand. They are a fringe group.”

“But this is crazy, George,” added Ms McDaniel, turning the conversation back to negotiations for another round of stimulus. “The American people are worried about the stimulus package that Nancy Pelosi is holding up, checks going to people who are concerned, and she’s saying, you know what, I’m going to look at the fine print, I don’t like this one word and I’m going to hold the American people hostage as I play political gamesmanship with their lives.”

“That’s what the voters are worried about,” she concluded.

Senator Romney criticised the president after Thursday’s town hall in which he said he knew “nothing” about QAnon.

“I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard but I know nothing about it,” Trump said.

In a statement on Twitter, Senator Romney said: “The president's unwillingness to denounce an absurd and dangerous conspiracy theory last night continues an alarming pattern: politicians and parties refuse to forcefully and convincingly repudiate groups like Antifa, white supremicists [sic], and conspiracy peddlers. Similarly troubling is their silence regarding anti-vaxxers, militias, and anarchists.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in