17/10/2020 11:53 AM AEDT

Mitt Romney Slams Trump For Failure To Condemn 'Dangerous' QAnon

Such support can unleash "rabid fringes" capable of quickly outstripping any efforts to control their potentially violent lunacy, the Republican senator warned.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) attacked President Donald Trump on Friday for failing at his NBC News town hall event to condemn the far-right conspiracy cult QAnon.

Romney called Trump’s unwillingness to denounce the QAnon movement and its “absurd and dangerous” conspiracies as “alarming.”

Trump insisted to NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie that he knew “nothing about QAnon” — even though he has promoted QAnon conspiracy theories and months ago insisted supporters of the bizarre claims “love our country” and “like me very much.”

Romney warned that Trump and others who support the “rabid fringes” threaten to unleash dangerous forces that will outstrip control.

“Rather than expel the rabid fringes and the extremes, they have coddled or adopted them, eagerly trading their principles for the hope of electoral victories,” Romney said in a statement he tweeted.

Trump ended up praising QAnon believers at the Thursday night town hall-style event because he said he’d heard they “are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that.”

A core belief of disciples of the mysterious QAnon is the baseless conspiracy theory that high-ranking Democrats, the imagined deep state, media figures and celebrities are secretly members of a satanic pedophile ring that Trump is covertly working to stop (despite his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on charges of child sex trafficking before his apparent suicide in jail).

That belief has triggered violence, including a 2016 shooting at a Washington pizza parlor that had been falsely targeted as a site of the imagined ring. 

Romney also condemned those who fail to “convincingly repudiate” other extremist groups, such as white supremacists, and other conspiracy peddlers, vaccination denouncers, militias and anti-fascist activists.

In the first debate against Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden, Trump stumbled when asked directly to condemn white supremacists. He ended up saying to the hate group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

We want to know what you’re hearing on the ground from the candidates. If you get any interesting ― or suspicious! ― campaign mailers, robocalls or hear anything else you think we should know about, email us at scoops@huffpost.com.

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