Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes blamed Donald Trump’s rhetoric for a rise in political violence and divisiveness.

The Dem Senate nominee at a Milwaukee Rotary Press Club breakfast event Tuesday responded to a question that referred to an attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. Barnes said Trump on the campaign trail and in office helped drive people to feel as though political differences make enemies. Barnes added some laughed it off and brushed it aside as “just the way he is, his brash delivery.”

“People feel as if they were the actual enemy, not just political differences,” he said. “But, you know, saying things as if people should seek harm because they had a political difference.”

He also said more leaders need to condemn such actions and talk because otherwise they do not deserve to hold public office.

“And if we’re going to have leaders in office who are afraid to call it out, afraid to bring it to an end, then they don’t deserve their seat in office,” he said. “And that’s one of the main reasons why I’m running. We gotta bring back decency to this state and to this country.”

Barnes also slammed GOP opponent Ron Johnson as a threat to U.S. stability and someone who will “stoop to disgusting lows” to win reelection.

The Dem blasted the two-term incumbent for blaming his missteps on others, his role in handling a slate of fake electors in 2020 and calling rioters on Jan. 6 peaceful tourists. Barnes called Johnson a “danger to the state.”

“He’s a threat to the stability of this country. That’s who he is,” he added. “And a person who will stoop to disgusting lows just to seek police office.”

Johnson spokesman Ben Voelkel told Barnes should look at himself before lobbing bombs.

“Mandela Barnes is an extreme partisan and career politician who has nothing to run on but personal insults and attacks on Ron’s family,” Voelkel said. “He should take a look in the mirror if he wants to know about disgusting lows.”

Barnes also blasted Johnson after the two-term senator questioned the Dem’s desire to represent Wisconsinites after a 2018 video resurfaced in which Barnes says at least some Wisconsinites are racist, but not open about it. Johnson Monday in Dodgeville asked voters why they would vote for somebody who he says doesn’t like this country.

“This is a person who’s lied to us, to our faces, for 12 straight years,” Barnes said. “A person who looked us in the eye and said that ‘this is not an insurrection, these are patriots.’ Let’s look at what he said about me, and who he actually called patriots.”

Watch the event:

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