Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II is not holding back in his criticism of Donald Trump.
The Democrat spoke out against the president’s coronavirus response, saying during a virtual event this weekend that Trump’s failure to properly address the pandemic has directly led to the death of Americans.
“Donald Trump is a liar who has killed people, straight up,” he said, via ClickOnDetroit.
He added that the pandemic has had a very personal effect, with 23 people close to him dying from COVID-19.
The Michigan lieutenant governor leveled the criticism during an event called “Fighting for Justice in Michigan” that was focused on winning over the party’s progressive voters, many of whom have been wary of supporting candidate Joe Biden.
The state is seen as one of the key battlegrounds in the upcoming election, with Trump winning by a razor-thin margin in 2016 and likely needing to hold onto the state in order to win again. Biden has led in a series of polls, though the margin remains close.
Gilchrist tried to stress the importance of the upcoming election, saying it was imperative to vote him out of office. He said the contest would literally be a life or death proposition for many voters.
“We cannot afford another four years of this man at the helm,” he said. “There are literally millions of lives at stake.”
Trump has come under intense criticism after the release of recorded interviews with journalist Bob Woodward in which the president said in February that the virus was much deadlier than the common flu and that it could spread through the air. Despite this admission, Trump would go on to compare the coronavirus to the flu and downplay its severity.
In another recording from March, Trump admitted that he purposely downplayed the virus. Critics said this approach has contributed to the country’s high death toll, as many Americans followed him in failing to take it seriously or follow social distancing measures. Trump has defended the remarks this week, saying that he did not want to cause panic.
The Republican’s campaign also responded to Gilchrist’s remarks, denying that he failed to take proper measures in response to the spread of the virus.
“While Joe Biden and his media allies’ relentless attacks continue, the fact remains: President Trump not only aggressively responded to the coronavirus pandemic, he expressed calm, decisive leadership during a time of unprecedented crisis,” Trump Victory Spokesperson Chris Gustafson told ClickOnDetroit.