A resolution condemning QAnon and rejecting its conspiracy theories passed 11 days ago in the U.S. House with an overwhelming majority. Three hundred and seventy one voted yes, while 17 Republicans and 1 Independent voted no.
Of Wisconsin’s eight Representatives, six voted yes on the resolution. Congressman Mike Gallagher of the 8th District did not vote, and Congressman Tom Tiffany of the 7th joined a handful of representatives to vote no on the resolution.
WORT reached out to each member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation and received the following responses.
Democrat Congressmembers Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore repeated their condemnation of QAnon. Pocan emphasized that it is a dangerous far-right conspiracy theory. Moore added that the group’s ideology “only further divides us, ignores facts, and has encouraged and justified the use of violence.”
Republican Mike Gallagher’s spokesman, Jordan Dunn, says the congressman would have voted yes but was unable to vote due to another matter.
And Republican Bryan Steil said he voted to condemn QAnon because of its dangerous rhetoric.
That leaves Republican Tom Tiffany as the only Wisconsin representative yet to condemn QAnon. In his statement, he instead spoke against “rioting, looting, or violence of any kind.” Tiffany called the measure a “time-wasting exercise” by Speaker Pelosi.
The resolution was created by Representative Tom Malinowski of New Jersey after he received death threats from QAnon supporters. It was cosponsored by 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats.
QAnon originated from websites favored by the alt-right. Followers believe in a conspiracy about a secret cabal in control of the US government that hides a ring of child sex trafficking and other criminal activity. They also believe President Trump is fighting this shadow government.
David Goldenberg is the Midwest Director of the Anti-Defamation League. He explained how the ADL is concerned about the danger QAnon presents. Goldenberg says the movement pulls people toward anti-semitism, islamaphobia, and more hateful and violent tendencies.
“Let’s be clear here. This is not a fact based conversation with QAnon conspiracy theories.” said Goldenberg. “This sort of paranoid obsession takes on a whole new life where people believe that they’ve got to take action into their own hands. And in some cases it’s been violence, it’s been kidnapping of children to protect them from the government.:
The FBI has stated QAnon is very likely to promote domestic extremists. The Resolution lists examples, such as a plot to bomb the Illinois capitol building and a man who used an armored car to block the Hoover Dam.
Tiffany has represented parts of the northwoods for seven years in the Wisconsin State Senate – until this year, when he won a special election to Congress in May. He’s facing the same Democratic challenger this November – Tricia Zunker, who lost the special election for the seventh district by more than 14% percent of the vote.
Zunker says she would have voted yes on the House resolution, and that Tiffany’s vote doesn’t represent the people of Wisconsin.
“Conspiracy theories like QAnon dehumanize citizens, they incite violence, and threaten our democratic institutions,” she said. “It is clear that Representative Tiffany is so extreme that he won’t join his own party leaders in condemning this dangerous conspiracy theory and the violence it promotes.”
Goldenberg says while President Trump hasn’t endorsed QAnon, his claims of distrust and treason he’s directed at Democrats and the government at large have fueled the movement.
“Whether [Trump] ascribes to [QAnon] or not, or whether any elected official of the 17 who voted against this resolution ascribe to these particular views, these are opportunities to speak out against it and that’s where leaders need to be.”