House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., defended a toxic and disingenuous House Republican colleague [“Despite denouncing QAnon months ago, Kevin McCarthy now says, ‘I don’t even know what it is,’ ” Feb. 4, Nation].

It is appalling and disappointing that an elected official of his standing believes it is acceptable to hide behind the idea of ignorance. Donald Trump used the same tactic shortly after his incendiary statement about the Proud Boys during the September 2020 presidential debate. His claim of, “I don’t know who the Proud Boys are,” showed a strong disinterest in being our nation’s leader.

As a middle school teacher, I can identify a number of preteens who can explain, at least in basic fashion, the negative and divisive nature of both of those organizations. I would expect leaders of our country to do the same. Book knowledge, awareness of current events, briefings from support staff and education — these are all methods of understanding available to our elected leaders. Use them, and stop hiding behind the curtain of “I don’t know.”

Erin Duffy, Bothell