House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pretended on Wednesday night that he didn’t know what QAnon was—or even how to pronounce it.
Following a private meeting of House Republicans on Wednesday, McCarthy spoke to the press and said that the GOP would not punish Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon-supporting conspiracy theorist from Georgia.
Then he praised Greene for apologizing to the party for her deranged social media output, before attempting to say that he didn’t even know what the cult was all about:
“I think it would be helpful if you could hear exactly what she told all of us — denouncing Q-on, I don’t know if I say it right, I don’t even know what it is,” McCarthy said.
That’s an odd thing to hear from a man who’s been at the center of the row over Greene’s dangerous embrace of the QAnon cult in recent weeks. It’s even stranger for a man who said this last August:
“Let me be very clear: There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party. I do not support it,” MCarthy told Fox News.
Odder still is the fact that McCarthy mentioned QAnon in a statement he put out just hours before he made the comments on Wednesday evening.
“Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference. I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past. I continue to condemn them today. This House condemned QAnon last Congress and continues to do so today,” McCarthy is quoted as saying in the statement published on his own website.
But in fairness to the House Republican leader, he does have a history of mispronouncing the name of the conspiracy movement.
In November, when asked about Greene’s past comments in a press conference, McCarthy falsely said she had “denounced Q-on.”
But Greene had not denounced QAnon at that point — and she still hasn’t done so publicly.