Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday slammed the far-right conspiracy movement QAnon as “dangerous” and suggested that adherents to the movement should consider mental health treatment.
And speaking at a campaign event in his home state of Delaware, the former vice president also pilloried President Trump over the economy, noting that “Donald Trump may be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs that when he took office.”
Biden, fielding questions for the second time in a week, noted that he’s a big supporter of mental health treatments and said "I'd recommend the people who believe it [QAnon] maybe should take advantage, while it still exists, of the Affordable Care Act."
The QAnon conspiracy theory is centered on the baseless belief that Trump is trying to save the world by waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by global elites who are satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
"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," Biden said. "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."
And Biden warned that "this can't go on. This cannot go on. It's the deconstruction of our democratic system.”
The president commented on QAnon for the first time last month, saying that followers of the convoluted movement “love our country.”
Trump said that he didn’t not know much about the conspiracy theory movement, but claimed that many adherents support him and that they are frustrated with the unrest that has gripped some cities across the nation.
“I don’t know much about the movement besides that they like me very much,” Trump said during a press briefing at the White House. “These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going in places like Portland and Chicago.”
He added: “I heard these are people that love our country.”
QAnon followers have appeared at Trump's rallies wearing clothes and hats with QAnon symbols and slogans.
While QAnon has for years remained on the far right fringe of American politics, it has entered mainstream discourse over the last few years. Adherents to QAnon have been linked to murder, kidnapping and vandalism.
Last month, Marjorie Tyler Greene, a House candidate who openly supports QAnon, won her Republican primary in Georgia. She's part of a growing list of candidates who have expressed support for QAnon. Lauren Boebert, another candidate who has expressed support for QAnon, recently upset a five-term congressman in a Republican primary in Colorado.
Greene, however, has tried to distance herself from QAnon – telling Fox News last week that her "Q"-supporting videos are in her past and don't represent her priorities for Congress.
The former vice president also took aim at Trump over the economy a couple of hours after the Labor Department reported that employers continued to bring back furlough workers last month – but at a much slower rate than in the late spring, when the economy began reopening after being shuttered in March as the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation.
The U.S. economy added 1.4 million jobs in August, according to the Labor Department, down from 1.7 million in July and a plunge from the 4.8 million added in June. But the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, down from 14.7% in April and 10.2% in July.
The president tweeted soon after the report’s release, touting “Great Jobs Numbers! 1.37 Million Jobs Added In August. Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.4% (Wow, much better than expected!). Broke the 10% level faster and deeper than thought possible.”
And the Republican National Committee spotlighted that “this jobs report is Joe Biden’s worst nightmare: The Great American Comeback is underway under President Trump.”
Biden noted that “I'm grateful for everyone who found work again and found a glimmer of hope” but emphasized that “28 million people have filed for unemployment and after six months of the pandemic, we’re less than half way back to where we were, with 11.5 million not getting their jobs back.”
“I talk to a lot of real working people. Ask them, they feel like they’re being left behind,” the former vice president stressed. “The report reinforces the worst fears and painful truths, the economic inequities that began before the downturn have only worsened under a failed presidency.”
And comparing the nation’s jobless rate to other nations, Biden argued that “during the pandemic our unemployment rate is still more than double, while other nations have only gone up by half. Why, because the president has botched the COVID response, botched it badly.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report