Pence drops out of fundraiser hosted by QAnon fans who shared anti-Semitic posts
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Pence drops out of fundraiser hosted by QAnon fans who shared anti-Semitic posts

Trump campaign chalks up decision to scheduling change, doesn’t say whether event organized by Montana couple who expressed support for conspiracy theories will be held later

US Vice President Mike Pence boards Air Force Two after attending a ceremony marking the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, September 11, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
US Vice President Mike Pence boards Air Force Two after attending a ceremony marking the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, September 11, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

US Vice President Mike Pence has canceled plans to attend a Trump campaign fundraiser in Montana following revelations that the event’s hosts had expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory as well as anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign told The Associated Press on Saturday that Pence’s schedule had been changed, but the campaign did not provide a reason or say whether the fundraiser might be held at a later time. The change comes after it was reported Wednesday that hosts Cayrn and Michael Borland in Bozeman, Montana, had shared QAnon memes and retweeted posts from QAnon accounts.

The baseless conspiracy theory alleges Trump is battling an entrenched bureaucracy and sex trafficking ring run by pedophiles.

Michael Borland has also posted conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family being behind a “globalist” conspiracy to create a totalitarian world order, a classic anti-Semitic trope.

In 2017, he shared a post that alleged Jewish groups working to help migrants were part of a “global cabal.”

Three Republicans seeking election in Montana also had been scheduled to attend the fundraiser: US Senator Steve Daines, who faces a November challenge from Democratic Governor Steve Bullock; US Representative Greg Gianforte, a Republican running for governor; and state auditor Matt Rosendale, a candidate for the US House.

Pence, Daines and the other Republican candidates are still scheduled to hold a campaign rally Monday afternoon in Belgrade, just east of Bozeman.

Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana in the East Room of the White House, August 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Daines’ campaign spokesperson Julia Doyle said the first-term senator does not know the Borlands nor “does he know what QAnon even is.” She referred questions on whether the event would be rescheduled to the Trump campaign.

The Borlands have donated over $220,000 to Trump’s reelection bid, the bulk of which was made in Caryn Borland’s name, and they were guests at the national GOP convention last month.

The QAnon narrative has grown to include other long-standing conspiracy theories, gaining traction among some extreme Trump supporters. The movement is often likened to a right-wing cult. Some followers have run for office, primarily in the Republican Party, though some have been independent or run as third-party candidates. Trump has refused to say QAnon is false.

Pence has said it’s a conspiracy theory and last month told CBS, “I don’t know anything about QAnon, and I dismiss it out of hand.”

David Reinert holds up a large “Q” sign, representing QAnon, a conspiracy theory group, while waiting in line to see US President Donald Trump at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, August 2, 2018. (Rick Loomis/Getty Images via JTA)

The Borlands have shared multiple QAnon social media posts, as well as other discredited conspiracies.

Michael Borland prominently featured several QAnon “Q” logos on his Facebook page. Caryn Borland has retweeted or engaged with QAnon Twitter accounts. In April, she responded to a pro-Trump Tweet from a QAnon account by replying “Always” with a praying hands emoji.

The Borlands did not immediately return telephone messages Saturday seeking comment.

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