Gianforte Continues Lying About Association with Dangerous, Deranged QAnon Conspiracy Theory

Member of U.S. House of Representatives pretends “not to know what QAnon is” after VP Pence is shamed into abandoning fundraiser hosted by QAnon followers

Helena, Mont. –– After pressure by Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney shamed Vice President Mike Pence into canceling a fundraiser in Bozeman hosted by followers of QAnon, Rep. Greg Gianforte again refused to denounce the dangerous QAnon theory.

Through a spokesman, Gianforte then went a step further and lied to Montanans by pretending never to have heard of QAnon, despite the theory having been labeled as a domestic terror threat by the FBI.

“Either Greg Gianforte has been so absent from Congress that he missed critical briefings on a dangerous and deranged conspiracy theory labeled a domestic terror threat by the FBI, or he is lying – something he has a history of doing,” said Ronja Abel, Cooney for Montana Communications Director. “Gianforte needs to come clean – why won’t he denounce QAnon and its followers?”

QAnon is an internet conspiracy whose followers believe that a group of satan-worshipping pedophiles are secretly operating a global child sex-trafficking ring. The Associated Press reported – and Gianforte’s campaign confirmed – that Gianforte planned to attend a fundraiser at the home of Caryn and Michael Borland, who are active followers of the QAnon conspiracy, before Pence suddenly pulled the fundraiser down Saturday.

“The rhetoric QAnon supporters espouse is incredibly dangerous and has no place in Montana politics,” Cooney wrote in a letter to Gianforte urging him to denounce QAnon on Friday. “Attending a fundraiser at the home of individuals who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory gives credence to a widely-debunked conspiracy theory that threatens to cause real harm to Montanans.”

Cooney’s letter continued: “It is incumbent upon elected officials to speak out against movements like this, before more people get hurt. I urge you to join me in denouncing this dangerous conspiracy theory.”

Lt. Gov. Cooney’s full letter is below.


Friday, September 11, 2020

Rep. Greg Gianforte
Greg for Montana
PO Box 877
Helena, MT 59624


Dear Rep. Gianforte,

It has come to my attention that you are scheduled to attend an event Monday with followers of QAnon, an internet conspiracy group the FBI recently labeled a domestic terror threat. I am writing today to ask you to join me in denouncing this dangerous movement and to disassociate yourself and your campaign from its followers.

As I am sure you are aware, QAnon’s adherents believe, among other things, that a group of satan-worshipping pedophiles are secretly operating a global child sex-trafficking ring. The conspiracy has been linked to several instances of violence in recent months, and has been banned from prominent social media sites for inciting or threatening to incite violence.

The rhetoric QAnon followers espouse is incredibly dangerous and has no place in Montana politics. QAnon followers have fantasized about harming their perceived opponents, and make baseless claims and wild accusations based on the unhinged posts of an anonymous figure called “Q.” 

That is unacceptable.

Attending a fundraiser at the home of individuals that support the QAnon conspiracy theory gives credence to a widely-debunked conspiracy theory that threatens to cause real harm to Montanans.

It is incumbent upon elected officials to speak out against baseless conspiracy theories like this, before more people get hurt.

I urge you to join me in denouncing this dangerous conspiracy theory.


Sincerely,
Mike Cooney

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