Michigan representative wears 'Q' button to election audit rally
Lansing — Michigan Rep. Daire Rendon, a Republican from Lake City, wore a button to a rally outside the Capitol Tuesday that featured an American flag with a gold "Q" on it, a letter that has become a symbol for a right-wing conspiracy theory movement.
Asked if the button was for the group QAnon, Rendon, chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee, responded, "That is a flag with a Q on it." As for what the "Q" referenced, she replied, "The 'Q' is the highest level of security in the federal government. ... That's what it is."
Rendon appeared to deny the button was a direct reference to QAnon, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as "a sprawling spiderweb of right-wing internet conspiracy theories" that "falsely claim the world is run by a secret cabal of pedophiles who worship Satan and are plotting against" former President Donald Trump.
The "Q" in QAnon is also a reference to the "Q level clearance," a top-secret clearance level within the U.S. Department of Energy, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
State Rep. Mari Manoogian, a Democrat from Birmingham, suggested on Twitter that Rendon has previously worn the button.
"The first time I saw her wearing it on the floor of the House I was shocked," Manoogian posted.
QAnon imagery often appears in the crowds at Trump campaign events. On Tuesday afternoon, supporters of requiring another audit of Michigan's 2020 election held a rally on the state Capitol lawn. Rendon was among the speakers for the gathering, which drew hundreds of people.
Some Trump backers claim that there was widespread fraud in last year's vote. However, Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points in Michigan, an outcome that's been upheld by dozens of past audits, a series of court rulings and an investigation by the GOP-led state Senate Oversight Committee.
During her speech, Rendon questioned why others don't want to see "evidence" of election fraud in the 2020 vote. In an interview, Rendon said the evidence shows that voting machines were "accessible" and could have been hacked. Asked if that proves there was hacking, Rendon said the machines' "logs" would need to be examined.
"I haven't seen the logs or I'm not capable of reading them," Rendon said. "I'm not an IT (information technology) expert."
In December, Rendon was one of two GOP members of the Michigan House listed among the plaintiffs in an unsuccessful federal lawsuit that aimed to require state legislatures to certify the results of presidential elections.
Lavora Barnes, chairwoman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said Rendon was spiraling "further into bogus, dangerous and violent conspiracy theories about the 2020 election."
"If she is so convinced by her own bogus conspiracy theories about the 2020 election results, then she should just resign," Barnes said. "Michiganders and our democracy would certainly be better for it."