Former President Obama was interrupted by a protester during a Democratic campaign rally in Michigan on Saturday evening as he discussed the recent attack on Paul Pelosi, who is married to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
While Obama called for elected officials to “explicitly reject” dangerous rhetoric from their supporters, a man in the crowd yelled at the former president.
“Sir, this is what I mean,” responded Obama.
“Sir, we’ve got a — there is a process that we set up in our democracy. Right now, I’m talking, you’ll have a chance to talk sometime soon,” he continued.
“We don’t have to interrupt each other. We don’t have to shout each other down.”
Obama added that “basic civility and courtesy works” and said that that is what he wants to encourage.
Earlier the Democrat had said that “demonizing” rhetoric creates a “dangerous climate.”
“If our rhetoric about each other gets that mean, when we don’t just disagree with people, but we start demonizing, making wild, crazy allegations about them, that creates a dangerous climate,” he said.
Politicians who “stir up division” and take advantage of anger and fear are “violating the basic spirit of this country,” added the two-term president.
“If elected officials don’t do more to explicitly reject that kind of rhetoric, if they tacitly support it, or encourage their supporters to stand up outside voting places armed with guns and dressed in tactical gear, more people can get hurt,” said Obama.
Obama also addressed the role of social media in amplifying dangerous rhetoric, criticizing platforms for feeding consumers “controversy and conflict instead of facts and truth.”
“Sometimes it can turn dangerous,” he warned.