WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - Facing questions about its use of the slogan, "We Are the Storm", a rallying cry for QAnon adherents, the Texas Republican Party is defending its adoption of the language, saying it was drawn from a poem and had nothing to do with the internet-driven conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump was elected to save America from paedophile Satanists.
The state party was responding to a report in The New York Times last Thursday (Aug 20) about how a small but growing number of Republicans nationwide have signalled support for QAnon, a far-right movement that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned could inspire domestic terrorism.
The Texas Republican Party's use of the slogan was cited by some prominent Republicans there as an example of how some in the GOP's leadership are opening the party to QAnon followers by adopting language used by the movement.
In a statement posted on its website on Friday after the article's publication, the state party said the slogan came from a favourite poem of the party's new chairman, Mr Allen West, and that the line had biblical roots.
It is "one of Chairman West's favourite quotes to use in speeches", the party said. "He and the entire Texas GOP will not be bullied by partisan leftists in the media into ceding powerful phrases with biblical roots - taken from Psalm 29 - to internet conspiracy groups."
Psalm 29 includes a line about thunder but not the word "storm".
The poem includes the line "I Am the Storm". Its origins are unclear; it appeared on an Instagram post in 2018 by Tom Brady, then the New England Patriots quarterback, and can be found on a website about scripture and culture.
Neither party officials nor Mr West responded to a question on Saturday about whether they believed that the use of the slogan could be taken by QAnon supporters as a signal of support from Texas Republicans.
Instead, Mr West said that questioning how the party came to use the slogan was "a pure example of the leftist embrace of racism".
He said in a written statement released on Saturday in response to New York Times: "It's offensive and condescending that white, liberal, progressive socialists would expect me to respond to their demand to know how long I have said something.
"It is obvious that as a strong, conservative Black man, I am not allowed to think or speak."