CNN reporter Gary Tuchman interviewed a number of rallygoers at a Donald Trump campaign event in Macon, Georgia on Friday, and all of those he featured either defended or outright supported the president’s tacit endorsement of the anti-Semitic QAnon conspiracy theory the day before.
During Thursday’s NBC town hall, the president repeatedly claimed ignorance about the group, which espouses toxic myths about a secret cabal of blood-drinking child traffickers that Trump is covertly working to dismantle, even after being pressed by moderator Savannah Guthrie. He only claimed to vaguely know about the group’s stance on pedophilia, and then offered his support in solidarity with their views.
Appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Tuchman teed up a report from the Georgia rally on Friday, where he talked with Trump fans — some of them QAnon conspiracy believers — about their the president’s very public choice not to denounce the fringe extremist group. Tuchman had conducted a similarly cross-section of Trump rallyogoers on Monday, where people gave numerous excuses for refusing to wear a mask in public — despite the president having just spent time in the hospital after being infected by Covid.
“Like we have seen before, most people are not wearing masks and not social distancing,” Tuchman pointed out of the latest rally. “It looks like a concert. He’s been talking about locking up Hillary Clinton and no mention of QAnon. He had a chance to condemn QAnon last night but he did not do it. We talked to supporters in strong favor of QAnon and others know little about it but none we talked to want to condemn it.”
The first rallygoer featured was wearing a white T-shirt adorned with QAnon phrasing. But as the elderly woman replied “yes” to his question about following the group, a younger woman quickly grabbed her by the wrist and tugged her away from Tuchman, saying “No thank you.”
Next, a pair of elderly women said they, too, were QAnon believers, with one affirming “100 percent” support for it.
“Do you think he has your back by not criticizing it?” Tuchman asked, alluding to Trump.
“Yeah,” one responded, nodding her head. “I really do.”
Next, Tuchman interviewed a couple. The man gave a defiant “no” when asked if Trump should have denounced the group despite what Tuchman called its “crazy stuff.”
But the woman standing next to him, quickly cut in: “No, that’s what you guys try to make us believe, crazy stuff.”
“But do you believe that there are Democrats and celebrities that are in a pedophile ring?” Tuchman pressed.
“Yes, I do.”
“Where does that come from?”
“Where does that come from?” the woman repeated. “Why don’t you ask the little kids?”
When Tuchman pointed out that there is no evidence to support any of QAnon’s wild theories, the woman quickly changed tactics.
“Let me ask you, who do you work for? ABC or CNN?”
When the man noted Tuchman was from CNN, the woman shook her head, forcefully said “no,” and quickly strode away.
Speaking next with a woman, in a red Trump visor, Tuchman asked if she was bothered by QAnon’s “crazy” and “ludicrous” predictions that repeatedly fail to come true.
“No,” the woman replied, and then she echoed an excuse Trump offered up at Thursday’s town hall for having retweeted a different, completely false and ridiculous conspiracy theory about SEAL Team Six and Osama bin Laden. “I think he wants to put everything out there so you can judge it yourself.”
When one of a trio of women said she’d heard the QAnon theories before, Tuchman pushed back: “With all due respect, ma’am, hearing it does not mean it is true.”
“I just believe, whatever’s wrong, he’s going to fix right,” she replied.
The last woman Tuchman interviewed seemed to sum up the rallygoers’ unswerving faith in Trump: “He can tweet anything he wants because we love him. And trust him.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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