Brand-new Republican Congresswoman Mayra Flores was none too happy on Thursday when Fox News anchors Sandra Smith and John Roberts tried to ask her about her past support for the unhinged conspiracy theory QAnon, chastising the hosts to "stay focused on the issues that matter."
Besides attempting to repeatedly change the subject, Flores also suggested that her use of QAnon hashtags in social media posts indicated her opposition to the conspiracy, whose adherents believe a cabal of Satanic Democratic elites run a murderous child sex ring.
Flores, who won a special election this month to flip a Democratic-held House district in Texas, repeatedly used various QAnon hashtags-such as #WWG1WGA-in posts on social media, including in a Facebook political ad. Besides spreading QAnon conspiracies in now-deleted tweets, Flores also peddled bogus claims that far-left activists were actually responsible for the violence at the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
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Though Fox News largely ignored her promotion of QAnon when initially touting her victory as further proof of a coming "red wave" for Republicans, Smith and Roberts took time at the end of their Thursday afternoon interview to mildly press her on the subject.
"Final question for you-I just want to give you an opportunity to address this because some of your critics have pointed out [that] a couple years ago, when you were the chairwoman for the Hispanic outreach of the Republican Party for Hidalgo County, you put a couple social media posts out there that included hashtags for QAnon," Roberts noted. "And I'm just wondering where you come down on that whole QAnon thing."
Dismissing it as merely a "hashtag," Flores then insisted that her "post is actually against it" before declaring that she's "never supported any of those conspiracies and none of this nonsense."
Roberts asked her why she included the hashtags in her social media posts, prompting Flores to deflect and dodge while scolding the anchor for the follow-up question.
"Again, Washington wants us to focus on nonsense," she huffed. "I'm focused on the issues that matter in my district and right now, we're focused on the increase of gas, increase of groceries food, and the increase of health care."
Smith, noting that Flores managed the social media account, asked again why Flores added QAnon verbiage to her posts. And again, the congresswoman admonished the hosts.
"Stay focused! Stay focused on the issues that matter," she grumbled.
A seemingly chastened Roberts responded that "we are focused on the issues that matter," adding that "anybody that watches Fox News would tell you that." At the same time, though, he tried again to get an answer.
"We are just wondering what you say to the critics who point to that and we're curious why you would have included those in the first place?" Roberts wondered.
"I've said it over and over, I've never supported any of those conspiracies. Again, stay focused on the issues that really matter to the American people. Border crisis and, of course, the economy," Flores replied.
"Fair enough," Roberts concluded.
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Several experts who've studied QAnon reacted to Flores' Fox News exchange, noting that now that she's an elected official, she needs to quickly run away from her past support.
"I don't think it's that complicated," QAnon Anonymous Podcast host Travis View tweeted. "She used QAnon hashtags in order to pander to a demographic that might support her and to increase engagement on her posts. Now that QAnon is a liability, she disowns it. She's just a cynical politician who does whatever works at the moment."
"Mayra Flores struggling here to deal with the obvious: she latched onto QAnon when it was advantageous to advance her political career," The Daily Beast's Will Sommer added.
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