Pelosi chastises Trump for promoting 'fear tactics' at Michigan rally

Pelosi chastises Trump for promoting 'fear tactics' at Michigan rally
© Bonnie Cash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS economy hurtles toward 'COVID cliff' with programs set to expire Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump Divided citizenry and government — a call to action for common ground MORE (D-Calif.) chastised President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE for promoting “fear tactics” during his campaign rallies, calling his Saturday appearance in Michigan “so irresponsible.”

“The president has to realize that the words of the president of the United States weigh a ton,” Pelosi told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “And in our political dialogue, to inject fear tactics into it, especially a woman governor and her family, is so irresponsible.” 

The speaker criticized Trump for calling for his supporters to “get your governor to open up your state, okay? And get your schools open” during his rally in Western Michigan in reference to Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerOvernight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas for 'view of COVID-19 that contradicts medical science' Wife of Detroit Lions quarterback apologizes for calling Michigan 'dictatorship' after new coronavirus measures MORE (D). 

His comment prompted the crowd to chant “lock her up,” a chant used during his 2016 rallies against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to name longtime aide Blinken as secretary of State: report Understanding mixed results in Pennsylvania key to future elections What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? MORE, leading the president to respond on Saturday saying, “Lock ‘em all up.”

“In all fairness to people who listen to him, people think the president is important and what he says should be adhered to,” Pelosi said during her interview. “And so we have this horrible situation.”

“But the people have awakened to him, 26 million people already voting,” she added. “The biggest anecdote to his poison is the vote.”

Saturday’s “lock her up” chants against Whitmer came more than a week after the FBI announced it foiled a militia group’s plans to kidnap her and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), partly over their coronavirus restrictions. 

Trump further planted doubt in Whitmer by saying the crowd needed to “be careful of her and her attorney general because you know they're like in charge of the ballot stuff.”

“How the hell do I put my political and our country's political life in the hands of a pure partisan like that?" he told the crowd.

The governor herself responded to Trump’s and his rallygoers’ remarks in a Twitter post, saying “This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans.” 

“It needs to stop,” she added. 

She previously said the president was “complicit” in stoking extremist groups after the FBI first announced the arrests of those attempting to abduct her.

Whitmer has faced several legal challenges to her coronavirus restrictions, including when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled last week that the governor could not delay a decision on whether she had the authority to continue a state of emergency during the pandemic.