2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that President Trump's "bizarre behavior," including his retweet of an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about Jeffrey Epstein's death, is a distraction for the American people who want to see real solutions on gun violence and white nationalism.

TAPPER: "I do want to get your reaction to the president retweeting this unhinged conspiracy theory, without any evidence, linking [Jeffrey] Epstein's death by apparent suicide to a murder by the Clintons. What was your reaction when you saw the tweets?"
O'ROURKE: "This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories. And also to try to force you and me and all of us to focus on his bizarre behavior instead of the fact that we just lost 22 people in this community, 9 people in Dayton, Ohio. We're seeing an epidemic of gun violence every single day in this country. ... He's changing the conversation, and if we allow him to do that, then we will never be able to focus on the true problems, of which he is a part."

The big picture: This week, while visiting the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump unleashed Twitter attacks and tirades against a wide array of people and topics. Targets included...

  • Google
  • California
  • Beto O'Rourke
  • The New York Times
  • Joe Biden
  • CNN
  • Fox News
  • Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
  • Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro
  • Hollywood
  • Bill Maher
  • Anthony Scaramucci

Dozens of Democrats have called on the administration to take real action against gun violence by reconvening the Senate to vote on 2 House-passed background check bills. O'Rourke, who suspended his campaign after the shooting in his hometown, has said he would consider mandatory gun buyback programs or gun licenses if elected president.

  • O'Rourke also called attention to a CNN report this week that claimed the White house has rebuffed efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to make "combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists, a greater priority."
  • "[Trump] has ignored them, or willfully suppressed action on those ideas and those programs and those policies that could have saved lives in El Paso and across the country," O'Rourke said.

Go deeper: Gun violence became the No. 1 topic of conversation online last week

Go deeper

In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 30,306,469 — Total deaths: 948,147— Total recoveries: 20,626,515Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 6,705,114 — Total deaths: 198,197 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 92,163,649Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.

Court battles shift mail-in voting deadlines in battleground states

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Michigan joins Pennsylvania in extending mail-in ballot deadlines by several days after the election, due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected delays in U.S. Postal Service.

The latest: Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that all ballots postmarked before Nov. 2 must be counted, so long as they arrive in the mail before election results are certified. Michigan will certify its general election results on Nov. 23.