U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger is calling on leaders – specifically those in his own party, including President Donald Trump – to denounce the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon.
The Channahon Republican, whose district includes Ottawa, La Salle-Peru and Streator, tweeted Sunday: “We have to be vigilant about bad actors like QAnon who spread misinformation & sow chaos through social media. And we have to make it our responsibility to ensure these conspiracy theories don’t take root & damage the foundation of our society.”
Kinzinger said he normally wouldn’t give attention to QAnon, but he believes it’s important to expose it and speak out now that it is reaching the mainstream.
He posted a YouTube video with the tweet, explaining the background on QAnon and debunked conspiracy theories, such as “the storm,” where thousands of federal government officials will be rounded up to be imprisoned and executed.
Kinzinger told CNN he believes most Republican leaders have not spoken up yet about QAnon because they didn’t want to give it more attention than it deserves.
This week, however, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter, won the GOP primary in Georgia and is expected to win her heavily Republican district come November.
“Democrats and Republicans have to denounce extremism in their own party because that’s where it’s effective,” Kinzinger told CNN.
Calling her a rising star in the Republican party, Trump congratulated Greene in a tweet.
Kinzinger said “time will tell” who speaks out, believing more politicians in the GOP will join him in the next week or so.
Matt Wolking, a member of Trump’s campaign, tweeted in response to Kinzinger’s denouncement of QAnon: “When will @RepKinzinger condemn the Steele Dossier fabrications and conspiracy theories pushed by Democrats? That actually WAS Russian propaganda.”
When Kinzinger was asked about Wolking’s tweet on CNN, he said it was surprising to him, but he said Wolking acted individually and didn’t represent Trump’s campaign.
“That was not a good political move on that staffer’s part,” Kinzinger said on CNN.
In the YouTube video, Kinzinger also noted QAnon has incorrectly claimed Kim Jong-un is a puppet ruler installed by the CIA, that the DNC hired MS-13 to kill staffer Seth Rich and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is Adolf Hitler’s granddaughter, as well as mass shootings serving as false flag operations or the Mueller investigation being a ruse where Trump pretended he was colluding with Russia so he could secretly hire Robert Mueller to investigate the Democrats.
“If you believe in this conspiracy theory stuff, especially QAnon, do some independent research,” Kinzinger said. “There’s a lot of stuff debunking it.”
The congressman said material from QAnon, referred to as Q drops, have become more vague in order to point to any recent event to keep the conspiracy movement going. He said they now read more like a tarot card or something from the psychic hotline.
“Many times when these don’t come true, they are dismissed as intentional misinformation in order to throw people off the scent,” Kinzinger said in his YouTube video. “So when something fails, it was always meant to fail.”
In his video message, Kinzinger encouraged Americans to show QAnon supporters humanity when addressing the issue, noting buying into conspiracy theories is nothing new.
“There’s nothing wrong with the people who believe them – they’re not crazy, they’re not bad intentioned,” Kinzinger said. “In fact, it’s usually the opposite. They believe the truth isn’t known and if it was life would be better for everybody.”
Kinzinger said it’s time for leaders to lead on the issue and said the Constitution was written with the intent of Congress members being “truth tellers.”
“Failure to do that breaks down the whole system.”
Kinzinger’s Democratic opponent Dani Brzozowski, D-La Salle, has denounced QAnon in several tweets.
Source: The Daily Chronicle