President Donald Trump embraced QAnon conspiracists Wednesday, noting that although he knew little of their beliefs he understood that “they like me very much.”

“Well I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate, but I don’t know much about the movement” Trump answered a reporter in the White House briefing room.

He continued: “I have heard that it is gaining in popularity, and from what I hear, these are people that – when they watch the streets of Portland, when they watch what happened in New York City…. These are people who don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland, and places like Chicago and New York and other cities and states. And I’ve heard that these are people who love our country and they just don’t like seeing it.”

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He restated that he was unfamiliar with the actual premise of QAnon but that they agreed several Democrat-run cities were experiencing “problems.”

“I don’t know anything about it other than they do supposedly like me, and they also would like to see problems in these areas – like especially in the areas that we’re talking about – go away,” Trump said. “Because there’s no reason the Democrats can’t run a city. And if they can’t, we will send in all of the federal whether it’s troops or law enforcement, whatever they’d like, we’ll send them in, we’ll straighten out their problem in 24 hours or less.”

When pushed to address the conspiracy’s premise that Trump is fighting a “satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” Trump asked if that was “supposed to be a bad thing.”

“I haven’t heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?” the president responded. “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there.”

“And we are actually,” he continued. “We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country and when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow. The rest of the world would follow, that’s the importance of this country.”

The QAnon conspiracy centers around the belief that dozens of Satan-worshipping politicians and celebrities are running an international child sex trafficking ring, and that there is a “deep state” working to undermine Trump.

The conspiracy is still largely considered fringe, but has been gaining considerable momentum as Republican candidates sympathetic or supportive of the unfounded beliefs have won primaries nationwide. Among those are Jo Rae Perkins, the GOP nominee for Senate in Oregon, Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District and Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed claims that Trump supports QAnon, noting that congratulatory tweets written about Greene, as well as other controversial candidates, were posted simply because they were Republican.

“The President routinely congratulates people who officially get the Republican nomination for Congress, so he does that as a matter of course,” McEnany said, before mentioning the president does not necessarily do a “deep dive” into the candidates he has tweeted about.

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