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Trump senior campaign adviser Lara Trump defended President Trump's rhetoric about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), claiming that he was "having fun at a Trump rally" when encouraging "lock her up" chants.

Why it matters: Whitmer, who has faced criticism for her strict lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic, was the target of a kidnapping plot by anti-government militia groups. The president has continued to demand that Whitmer lift COVID restrictions, calling her a "dictator."

  • The governor's deputy digital director tweeted on Saturday that every time Trump attacks her at a rally, the "violent rhetoric towards her immediately escalates on social media."
  • Whitmer herself has said that Trump's rhetoric puts her and her family's lives in danger, accusing the president of "stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division."

What she's saying: "Well, look, he wasn't doing anything, I don't think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all. He was having fun at a Trump rally. And quite frankly, there are bigger issues than this right now for everyday Americans," Lara Trump said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.

  • "People want to get the country reopened. They want to get back to work. Not only are we trying to make it through a pandemic, but think about all of the cancers that have gone unaddressed. Think about the kids that aren't in school who use school to get their one meal a day."
  • "There are issues at hand here that are bigger than just keeping everyone locked down. ... The president was at a rally. It's a fun, light atmosphere. Of course, he wasn't encouraging people to threaten this woman. That's ridiculous."

The other side: Whitmer reacted to Trump's comments on NBC's "Meet the Press" later on Sunday, saying: "It's dangerous, not just for me and my family but for public servants everywhere who are doing their jobs and trying to protect their fellow Americans. People of goodwill on both sides of the aisle need to step up and call this out and bring the heat down."

  • She also clarified that Michigan hasn't had a stay-at-home order since late spring, despite Trump's comments demanding an end to "lockdowns."

Go deeper

Trump rally in Omaha left hundreds stranded in the cold, waiting for buses

Supporters cheer as Trump leaves Eppley Airfield on Oct. 27 in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of supporters at President Trump's Omaha rally were stranded at Eppley Airfield on Tuesday as campaign buses took up to three hours to get people to their cars, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Why it matters: Many people stood huddled together in temperatures as low as 33 degrees until at least midnight, in the Nebraska county reporting the most COVID cases amid a record-breaking state-wide spike. Police were seen giving aide to an elderly woman warming up in a police cruiser and a boy who received a blanket, per the World-Herald.

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.