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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows battled with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace over the “QAnon” conspiracy in a back-and-forth that left the former North Carolina GOP lawmaker exasperated.
The exchange began with Wallace, who has developed a reputation for being harder on the Trump administration and Republicans in general than Democrats, noting that the FBI has designated QAnon as “a domestic terrorist threat.”
The Fox News host then played a clip of a reporter asking the president about the conspiracy surrounding QAnon and what his thoughts were about the alleged group’s theories that he is stealthily battling “pedophiles and cannibals.”
Characterizing the issue as a “controversy,” Wallace told Meadows he could “end” it “right now” by answering whether the president condemns “QAnon.”
“Well listen, we don’t even know what it is,” Meadows began. “You’ve spent more time talking on it, Chris, than we have in the White House.
“I find it appalling that the media, when we have all of the important things that are going on, a list of Top 20s, that the first question at a press briefing would be about QAnon that I had to actually Google to figure out what it is,” Meadows continued.
“It’s not an essential part of what the president’s talking about,” he said. “I don’t know anything about it, I don’t even know that it’s credible.”
Wallace interrupted to say that it wasn’t the first question he asked, as the two continued to talk over each other.
Why did @FoxNewsSunday Wallace constantly talk over @MarkMeadows and only once, very gently, interrupt Dem. Sen Chris Coons? Coons ignored @JoeBiden calling @realDonaldTrump xenophobe for China travel ban and saying China not threat to US. Also, China $$$for Hunter. #MAGA2020
— Victoria Toensing (@VicToensing) August 23, 2020
“But you’re bringing it up and it’s ridiculous,” Meadows responded. “If you want to talk conspiracies, let’s get back to talking about how the FBI and others within the FBI spied on the Trump campaign, I’ll be glad to speak about that.”
Noting he was running out of time for the segment, Wallace broke in again and claimed that QAnon “is a hate group” that the FBI has designated a threat.
“I can tell ya, if it’s a hate group, this president is not for hate,” Meadows interjected. “Let’s look at domestic terrorism and look at Antifa and a number of other areas and quit spending time on something that 81 percent of Republicans don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
Meadows’ response appeared to take Wallace by surprise, as he paused for a moment before explaining that media figures continue to ask about QAnon and how the president feels about the group because they haven’t gotten the kind of direct answer that Meadows gave.
During last week’s press conference, Trump was asked by a female reporter that “during the pandemic,” the QAnon movement appeared “to be gaining a lot a followers” before asking his opinion about that.
“Well, I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” Trump began. “But I don’t know much about the movement.”
In a follow-up, she asked: “The crux of the theory is this belief that you are secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Does that sound like something that you are behind?”
“Well, I haven’t heard that. Is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” Trump said, to muted laughs among reporters. “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it, I’m willing to put myself out there.”