What if we discovered that the attendants in a mental institution were reassuring patients that the aliens they were seeing were real? That they should listen to and believe the voices in their heads? At the very least, we’d wonder why–what nefarious scheme could account for actions clearly motivated to confirm inmates’ insanity?
The Guardian has raised a very similar set of questions, but about the GOP. It reports that groups tied to Donald Trump’s chief of staff and several party mega-donors are funding GOP candidates who champion the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Republican party leaders linked to the White House helped boost the primary campaign of a QAnon supporter with a history of making racist and bigoted statements, campaign finance filings show.
Campaign finance reports show contributions to QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Green’s campaign from groups connected to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and his wife, as well as the chairman of the board of the Heritage Foundation, the attorney who represented “Covington Kid” Nicholas Sandmann (aka “the smirking kid”) in his defamation suits against the Washington Post and CNN, and multiple Republican mega-donors.
“Getting involved in a primary on behalf of an absolutely insane, conspiracy-minded, explicitly racist candidate in a seat that is reliably conservative is mind-bogglingly irresponsible,” said Tim Miller, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee who is now political director for Republican Voters Against Trump.
For readers who may not be familiar with QAnon, it’s a conspiracy theory rooted in age-old antisemitic tropes. Followers believe that Donald Trump is waging a secret battle against an evil cabal of Democrats, celebrities and billionaires who are engaged in pedophilia, child trafficking, and even cannibalism. The movement has repeatedly inspired vigilante violence–remember the guy who shot up the D.C. pizza. parlor?– and the FBI. has warned. that it represents a potential domestic terrorism threat.
A few high-profile Republican leaders spoke out against Greene after Politico unearthed and published videos of her making racist and. anti-Semitic statements, and the Koch Industries Pac requested a refund of an earlier donation. But her campaign continued to be backed by other major Republican donors and influential political leaders. The Guardian report lists a number of them, including a Pac run by Representative Jim Jordan, who has been dogged for years by allegations that he knew and did nothing to stop sexual abuse of student athletes at Ohio State University when he worked there in the 1980s and 90s.
Greene received $2,800 from John W Childs, the former chairman of JW Childs Associates who stepped down after being charged with misdemeanor solicitation in an investigation related to the suspected human trafficking sting that led to the arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Childs denied the charge at the time and said he had retained a lawyer. Kraft pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor solicitation charges.
QAnon is reminiscent of other fringe movements in the Republican Party–the John Birch Society comes to mind. (Remember when the Birchers accused President Eisenhower of being a conscious Communist agent?)
The. other morning, Mike Pence was on CBS This Morning, and was asked about QAnon. He pretended to know nothing about it. Meadows has also professed ignorance of it. Those denials ring very hollow, leaving us with two possibilities: (1) having engaged in pedophilia and/or trafficking themselves, Greene supporters from the Trump cult (aka “projection-is-us”) actually believe in QAnon, or (2) they don’t believe in QAnon, but do believe that encouraging the racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry that is at its core will help them win the election.
Either way, it’s a sad–and revealing– commentary on a once-respectable political party.