The unfounded theory, which has grown in popularity among Trump’s base, claims there is a deep-state cabal of Satanist pedophiles in the U.S. government that Trump is working to defeat with the help of an anonymous figure within the government. The initial premise of the group has expanded since 2017 to embrace virtually every popular conspiracy theory of the past several decades, Malinowski and Riggleman’s resolution states.
The FBI has labeled QAnon a potential domestic terrorism threat, while the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point argues that the group is “no longer simply a fringe conspiracy theory but an ideology that has demonstrated its capacity to radicalize to violence individuals at an alarming speed.”
The resolution points to half a dozen instances in which adherents of the conspiracy theory have been implicated in potentially deadly crimes they say were inspired by their QAnon beliefs, a list that doesn’t include the 2016 incident in which a North Carolina man opened fire inside of a D.C. restaurant that he falsely claimed was a front for a child sex trafficking ring.
“QAnon adherents have been harming legitimate efforts to combat child exploitation and sex trafficking, including by overwhelming anti-trafficking hotlines with false reports,” the resolution notes. It adds that “the conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon undermine trust in America’s democratic institutions, encourage rejection of objective reality, and deepen our nation’s political polarization.”
The effort to formally reject QAnon comes as supporters of the theory prepare to come to the halls of Congress.
Over the summer, at least seven QAnon adherents have come out on top in Republican congressional primaries including one, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who is favored to end up in the House.
Trump, who rose to political prominence on the back of the false birtherism conspiracy theory against former President Barack Obama, has often flirted with conspiracy theories while in office. But over the past few weeks, he has gone his farthest yet toward embracing QAnon, calling Greene a future GOP star and suggesting he doesn’t see the harm in the group. White House officials quickly attempted to walk back his comments.
The disinformation espoused by QAnon has spread on social media, while platforms like Facebook and Instagram have rushed to clamp down on thousands of groups and accounts spreading its theories.
Malinowski and Riggleman’s resolution also urges “all Americans, regardless of our beliefs or partisan affiliation, to seek information from authoritative sources, and to engage in political debate from a common factual foundation.”