Pelosi: Presidents should not 'fuel the flame'

Pelosi: Presidents should not 'fuel the flame'
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel Pelosi taps Kinzinger to serve on Jan. 6 panel MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that U.S. presidents should not “fuel the flame” and instead focus on “unifying our country.”

The House Speaker told ABC’s “This Week” that past Democratic and Republican presidents have been a “unifying force” in the U.S. and brought “dignity to the office.” 

“They have seen their responsibility to be the president of the United States, to unify our country and not to fuel the flame,” she said.

She contrasted this with Trump’s rhetoric, saying his tweets act as “bait” to distract the public from the issues at the root of the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. 

“I think to take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was,” she added. 

Pelosi responded to a question about Trump tweeting that “looting leads to shooting” by saying she isn’t “paying too much attention to what the president says.”

“I’m talking about the injustice, the knee in the neck,” she said.

She also cited former President Obama’s Saturday statement saying the country needs to “create a ‘new normal.’”

“Normal hasn’t been so great for a lot of people,” she said.

The Speaker called for the country to "come together" and "be prayerful ... about how we can put our differences aside."

Pelosi reacted last week to the bystander video showing 46-year-old Floyd being detained by police, saying Floyd was “murdered on TV.”

The video shows Floyd, an unarmed black man, being detained by former officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive. 

Chauvin was fired, along with three other officers who assisted in the arrest last week, and on Friday, he was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.