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."
- Multiple individuals who have publicly supported QAnon are now Republican Congressional nominees.
- Trump has expressed approval toward some of these candidates, calling Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal supporter of the movement, a "future Republican Star..."