A Connecticut state senator has defended the values of the QAnon conspiracy theory after photos on social media showed a sticker supporting the movement on his car.
Republican Senator Eric Berthel’s car features a sticker with the QAnon hashtag #WWG1WGA”, which represents the movement’s slogan “Where we go one, we go all.”
The images posted on Twitter also show the car has a legislative licence plate saying “Senate,” an American flag and a Republican elephant decal. Berthel has confirmed the sticker is his.
QAnon is a conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child sex traffickers, who may also be Satan worshipers.
Berthel denied he believes in QAnon’s claims but defended the sticker and the movement more broadly.
“I don’t believe in many of the wild-eyed theories reportedly associated with the QAnon movement about pedophile conspiracies or satanic cults,” Berthel told Connecticut Public Radio.
“However, stopping corruption in politics, holding government accountable and protecting individual freedoms are values I do believe in which the movement has come to represent,” he said.
“Like many movements occurring across our nation today, I think it has allowed for people who have previously felt disconnected from public policy and government to be part of the conversation.”
Would State Senator Eric Berthel like to explain why he has a QAnon decal on his car? Itâs very concerning that an elected official is supporting what is essentially a cult.
Submitted by one of our followers. pic.twitter.com/Y2JEMYulw2
— Yung Nutmeg (@yungnutmeg) September 10, 2020
Berthel’s Democratic opponent Jeff Desmarais, who is challenging him for his seat representing Watertown in November, said Berthel’s association with QAnon makes him unfit for office.
“I think this is signaling to his far-right supporters that he’s one of them. It’s a secret handshake-type thing,” Desmarais said.
“QAnon is not about holding government accountable. That’s not what it’s about. No rudimentary investigation into what QAnon is about will tell you that’s what it is. It’s a far right-wing, over-the-edge conspiracy theory group.
“This is something where you’re taking gutter politics, gutter discussion, poisonous stuff and promoting it as an elected official with your elected official’s license plate—to me, as I said, that’s disqualifying for public service.”
Berthel has served in the Connecticut state senate since 2017 and was previously a state representative. He is one of several Republican candidates in November’s elections to express support for the QAnon conspiracy theory.
In July, Berthel joined fellow Republican, State Representative Jason Perillo, in a lawsuit in Connecticut’s superior court seeking to limit the expansion of absentee ballots by Secretary of State Denise Merrill, claiming it was “unlawful and unconstitutional.”
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