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GOP lawmaker calls on leaders to push back against QAnon

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Kinzinger is first GOP lawmaker to call on Gaetz to resign Marjorie Taylor Greene rakes in over .2M in first quarter MORE (R-Ill.) called on leaders of his own party to push back against QAnon on Sunday, days after a supporter of the conspiracy theory won a House primary in a deep-red Georgia district. 

“I’d ask every leader to put aside the avoidance of short-term pain to save our country in the long term,” Kinzinger said in a YouTube video published Sunday regarding the conspiracy theory. 

Kinzinger said it's important for Republicans to speak out now about QAnon after it made its way into the “mainstream.”

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“I think up to maybe about a week ago there wasn’t a reason to denounce it because it didn't need the attention, but now that it's made mainstream, we have a candidate that embraces it that won a primary. I supported her primary opponent. The president hasn't fully denounced it or denounced it at all. Now it's time for leaders to come out and denounce it,” Kinzinger said Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” while discussing his video addressing the conspiracy theory. 

Kinzinger last week became the first Republican in Congress to condemn Marjorie Taylor Greene’s support of the QAanon conspiracy theory after Greene won her Georgia primary.

President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE on Friday dodged a question asking if he agreed with Green’s support for the conspiracy theory after he hailed the candidate as a “future Republican star.” 

The QAnon conspiracy theory posits that Trump and his allies are working together to expose a “deep state” cabal of figures in media, entertainment and politics who control the world. 

Kinzinger underscored his call for leaders to denounce the theory by noting that it must come from Republican leaders in order to sway supporters. 

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“Democrats and Republicans have to denounce extremism in their own party because that’s where it's effective. It's not going to be effective from the other side denouncing it,” he said, adding that it would instead embolden supporters to hear Democrats denounce the right-wing conspiracy. 

The congressman also urged leaders to address the issue from a perspective of understanding. 

“You're never going to offend somebody onto your side. You’re never going to offend someone away from something that they believe. In fact, it emboldens them, so I think it’s understanding that they're still human,” he said on CNN.