Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois, took to YouTube on Sunday, Aug. 16, to explain the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory and warn of its proponents potentially entering Congress.
Kinzinger’s video was the strongest denunciation of the conspiracy theory yet from an elected Republican and came as QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene was poised to likely win Georgia’s 14th District seat.
There are at least 20 QAnon-supporting candidates set to be on ballots nationwide in November, Media Matters reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
Kinzinger Called QAnon ‘Dangerous,’ But Urged People to ‘Show Followers the Truth,’ Not ‘Hate’ Them
Kinzinger posted the four-minute video on Sunday, Aug. 16, following a Tweet days earlier calling QAnon a “fabrication” and saying there is “no place in Congress” for it. In the video, he expanded on his critique of the conspiracy theory, but used softer language and urged people to try to educate rather than ostracize its followers.
“If you know someone who buys into these theories, don’t hate them,” he said. “Show them the truth … I’d encourage you to do your own research, and to do it with an open mind.”
He admitted to, long ago, believing in the conspiracy that the United States faked the moon landing — but only for a day. Also, Kinzinger noted that the so-called “Q Drops” that the theory’s followers analyze for clues have become more vague, with fewer concrete predictions than they used to contain.
When [the predictions] don’t come true, they’re dismissed as intentional misinformation to throw people off the scent. Now the Q Drops are so vague that, like the predictions of tarot card readers or a psychic hotline, they could be interpreted to fit any number of events.
Kinzinger also urged other Republican lawmakers to denounce QAnon, despite the fact that it may anger some Republican voters who follow the conspiracy theory.
Denouncing conspiracies shouldn’t be the exception — it should be the rule. In a moment where facts are only real if they confirm your previous belief, leaders need to lead anywhere. A momentary avoidance of pain is not the kind of stewardship envisioned by those who wrote the constitution and narrated what the United States would look like. Our founding fathers counted on representatives to be truth tellers. And no matter how difficult, failure to do that breaks down the whole system.
As of Monday morning, Kinzinger’s video had more than 18,500 views. It also drew a number of supportive comments, as well as QAnon followers who accused Kinzinger of “selling out” and ranted about the “reptilians” in government and urging viewers to read the Q Drops for themselves.
Kinzinger Also Addressed a Few Conspiracy Theories He Claimed People Have Spread About Him
At the end of his video, Kinginzer said he wanted to address a couple of conspiracy theories he claimed had spread about him in the past.
“First, I didn’t spread the Steele dossier, and I didn’t create ISIS with John McCain,” he said.
According to Associated Press reporting, Kinzinger was an early recipient, along with then-House Speaker Republican Paul Ryan, of the unverified dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele alleging shady connections between President Donald Trump. Kinzinger was likely replying to QAnon supporters who alleged that he helped push the dossier, helping to pave the way toward Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections with the Russian government.
As far as ISIS goes, several conservative websites that often push conspiracy theories alleged in 2016 that Kinginzer, along with the late Sen. John McCain, had ties with the militant group.
“I was the first Congressman to actually call for kinetic action against ISIS,” Kinzinger said in the video. “That would have to be one crazy misdirection that I’m just not capable of.”
Kinzinger then referenced two pieces of art behind his head, depicting the globe.
“And this world art behind me?” Kinzinger said. “It’s just art. It’s not my secret message to the Illuminati.”
Kinzinger’s Video Came After Marjorie Taylor Greene Won Her Georgia Primary & Appeared to be Headed to Congress, Despite a History of Promoting QAnon
Last week, Marjorie Taylor Greene defeated neurosurgeon John Cowan in the Georgia 14th Congressional District primary; she is now favored to win in an “easy” November election, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
She has, in the past, said that many of the QAnon predictions have “really proven to be true,” according to the Daily Beast, and implied in one video that Hillary Clinton was involved in Satanic worship, as Heavy reported.
Greene was also recently called out by Jake Tapper on CNN for her support of QAnon and past videos in which, Tapper claimed, she spread conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
She took notice of the media attention her beliefs have garnered and distanced herself somewhat from QAnon in a Fox News interview on Aug. 15. In the interview, she claimed to have taken an interest in QAnon, but eventually found some” misinformation” that made her doubt the theory.
“I was just one of those people, just like millions of other Americans, that just started looking at other information,” Greene told Fox. “And so, yeah, there was a time there for a while that I had read about Q, posted about it, talked about it, which is some of these videos you’ve seen come out. But once I started finding misinformation, I decided that I would choose another path.”
Heavy reached out to Kinzinger’s office seeking comment on the number of QAnon-supporting candidates who may end up in Congress and the idea of working with Taylor Greene, but did not immediately hear back.