Joe Biden condemned the QAnon conspiracy theory as "dangerous" and "embarrassing" in a campaign event on Friday, recommending that people who support the sprawling network of falsehoods to seek mental health treatment.

Why it matters: It's the first time Biden has publicly addressed the once-fringe, far-right conspiracy theory, which has been flagged as a threat by the FBI and has slowly seeped into mainstream U.S. politics.

Catch up quick: QAnon alleges the "deep state" is engaged in a global fight to take down President Trump and evolved from the 2016 Pizzagate conspiracy theory into a decentralized network that analyzes cryptic prophecies dropped in remote online forums by "Q," who claims, without offering evidence, to be a Trump administration official with high-level clearance.

What he's saying: "I've been a big supporter of mental health," Biden said. "I'd recommend the people who believe [in QAnon] maybe should take advantage, while it still exists, of the Affordable Care Act."

  • "What in God's name are we doing? Look at how it makes us look around the world. It's mortifying. It's embarrassing, and it's dangerous. If the president doesn't know better, which he has to know better, then my Lord we're in much more trouble than I ever thought we were."

The big picture: When informed in August that the crux of the theory is a belief that he is "secretly saving the world from this Satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals," Trump responded, "Well I haven't heard that, but is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing?" In a press conference last month, the president said QAnon supporters "like me very much."

Go deeper: How QAnon works like a video game to hook people

Go deeper

Sep 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden pledges complete health transparency if elected

Joe Biden promised in an interview with CNN that he will be "totally transparent" about all facets of his health if elected president.

Why it matters: Biden, who will be 78 in November, would be the oldest president in U.S. history. The Trump campaign has sought to cast doubt on Biden's mental faculties and physical fitness for office — attacks that the former vice president has frequently laughed off.

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 32,626,165 — Total deaths: 990,134 — Total recoveries: 22,523,822Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 7,040,313 — Total deaths: 203,918 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,488,275Map.
  3. States: U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases — "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer — The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

America on edge as unrest rises

Louisville on Wednesday. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Rarely have national security officials, governors, tech CEOs and activists agreed as broadly and fervently as they do about the possibility of historic civil unrest in America.

Why it matters: The ingredients are clear for all to see — epic fights over racism, abortion, elections, the virus and policing, stirred by misinformation and calls to action on social media, at a time of stress over the pandemic.

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