Trump Camp Runs Ads Defending Conspiracy Theorists

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Will Sommer
·3 min read
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Andrew Harrer/Getty
Andrew Harrer/Getty

Donald Trump’s campaign has put out a new ad warning that former Vice President Joe Biden wants to “cancel” conspiracy theorists, an unusual defense of a section of the populace that would be shunned by almost any other White House.

The ad, which ran on Sept. 29 and 30 online, according to a Google ad database, warns that conspiracy theorists are on the list of Biden’s first targets to “cancel.”

“Joe Biden’s cancel culture is getting out of hand,” the ad warns, through messages flickering on an antique TV. “Biden and the radical left want to cancel the politically incorrect, the conspiracists, the free thinkers, and after that, the political opposition.”

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The ad portrays conspiracy theorists as one of Biden’s first targets, warning that after that effort is successful, Biden will go on to “cancel” comedians, before moving to cancelling concepts as broad as “jobs,” “music,” and “history.” As Biden’s supposed cancelling scheme heats up, flames flicker over the TV and lightning crackles in the background.

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

QAnon: Trump Getting COVID Is Good News

It’s not clear which conspiracy theories the ad is referring to. But the ad defending “conspiracists” comes after Trump spoke increasingly positively about believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory, and after Biden called QAnon “embarrassing” and urged its believers to get help for mental illness.

In August, Trump praised QAnon believers, calling them “people who love our country.” The conspiracy theory, which posits that the Democratic Party is run by Satanic cannibal-pedophiles who will soon be swept up in mass arrests ordered by Trump, is considered a potential source of domestic terrorism by the FBI.

Liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century slammed the ad defending “conspiracists” in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“Donald Trump made it crystal clear that he won’t disavow the anti-Semitic QAnon delusion,” American Bridge 21st Century spokesman Kyle Morse said. “Now his campaign is quietly running ads explicitly appealing to ‘conspiracists’ as the president continues to spread disinformation about coronavirus and the legitimacy of the upcoming election.”

The QAnon conspiracy theory has continued to make inroads with the GOP, with at least one QAnon believer likely to win a House seat in November. And the Republican Party has increasingly been less willing to fight back against it. Though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said there is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party, the National Republican Congressional Committee ran an ad that falsely accused Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) of supporting pedophiles. The ad inspired a wave of QAnon-related death threats against Malinowski.

The Trump administration has been even more openly amenable to QAnon believers. When Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said QAnon had no place in Congress, the Trump campaign attacked him.

QAnon references have also appeared in the Trump campaign. One Trump campaign ad featuring footage from rallies included QAnon signage. In 2019, a Trump campaign rally warm-up speaker mentioned QAnon slogan “Where we go one, we go all” from the podium, though he later claimed he didn’t mean the phrase to have QAnon connotations.

QAnon believers have been tied to multiple criminal incidents, including two murders, a terrorist incident near the Hoover Dam, threats to kill Biden, and three child abduction plots. Last week, a Utah QAnon believer allegedly abducted her son, only to be discovered in Oregon hiding out with another QAnon supporter.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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