Top Senate Democrat calls on Trump to 'disavow' QAnon movement

Top Senate Democrat calls on Trump to 'disavow' QAnon movement
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerPanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package MORE (D-Va.) on Sunday called on President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE to “disavow” the QAnon movement, calling the group's members “whack jobs.”

Warner, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told NBC News’s “Meet the Press” that it is “fairly clear" that the conspiracy theory movement, which has gained traction among some Republican voters, is a "fringe group," adding that “they are potentially a threat.”

“The idea that the president of the United States is embracing these folks and say just because they like him and they love our country is very bizarre,” the Virginia Democrat said.

“These guys are whack jobs, and the president ought to disavow them,” he added.

The far-right, QAnon conspiracy theory suggests that Trump and his allies are trying to uncover a group of Democrats, media figures and celebrities who are operating an international child sex trafficking scheme. 

The movement has gained more attention in recent months after a few GOP congressional candidates who expressed support for the theory won their primary elections.

When asked about QAnon last week, the president said he didn’t know much about it, but said he thought its supporters “love our country.”

"These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland and places like Chicago and other cities and states," Trump said, suggesting the movement focuses on the ongoing protests in these cities. 

"I’ve heard these are people that love our country and they just don't like seeing it,” he said. “I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me. And they also would like to see problems in these areas ... go away."

Other high-ranking Republicans have distanced the party from the QAnon movement, including Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence says he hopes conservative majority on Supreme Court will restrict abortion access Federal judge to hear case of Proud Boy alleged Jan. 6 rioter seeking release from jail The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit MORE, who dismissed the theory “out of hand” last week. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) said “there is no place” in the party for the QAnon theorists.