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Opinion: Donald Trump just can't quit his dangerous friends

October 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Michael D'Antonio writes that Donald Trump has always had trouble denouncing the dangerous, often racist, groups and individuals who support him--because he cannot reject anyone who might vote for him.

At his televised town hall on Thursday, Trump replied to a question about the conspiracy theory phenomenon by saying, "I know nothing about QAnon. " He said this even though he has distributed QAnon-based claims with his own social media accounts, and his rallies have long been gathering spots for vocal and highly visible displays of QAnon symbols and ideas.

After Trump made multiple claims to ignorance -- "I know nothing about it" -- moderator Savannah Guthrie reminded him that Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska had declared "QAnon is nuts and real leaders call conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories. " Trump responded: "Can I be honest?

In the case of QAnon, Trump tried to have it both ways.

In that same interview with Tapper, in fact almost in the same breath, Trump said, "I know nothing about White supremacists.

Trump performed the same dance of vague signals more recently when he claimed to reporters, "I don't know who the Proud Boys are. " To be clear, the Proud Boys are a violence-prone organization that the FBI has classified as an "extremist group with ties to White nationalism. "

Trump made his claim of ignorance about the Proud Boys the day after he had deflected a debate moderator's request that he tell members of White supremacist groups to "not add to the violence. " "Proud Boys stand back and stand by," was what Trump said at the debate, after Biden named the group.

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