It has been reported that at least 14 pipe bombs were sent to Democratic outspoken critics of President Trump and people who he has vilified at his political rallies and vilified on TWITTER.
Pipe bombs were sent to the home addresses of:
Former President Barack Obama
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Former United States Attorney General Eric Holder
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John O. Brennan
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Billionaire philanthropist George Soros
Actor Robert Di Nero
A pipe bomb was also delivered to the offices of CNN in Midtown Manhattan.
Authorities have also retrieved three more suspicious packages, one addressed to New Jersey Democratic US Senator Cory Booker, one to James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, and addressed to CNN, both who have been very outspoken critics of Trump, and one to California US Senator Kamala Harris.
The pipe bomb delivered to CNN resulted in the evacuation of CNN newscasters while they were on the air.
Secret Service intercepted packages addressed to Hillary Clinton and former President Obama.
None of the pipe bombs exploded on their own.
Initial examination by law enforcement showed the pipe bombs are rudimentary but functional all having similar construction.
The envelope and printed address labels on the packages were all similar.
X-rays of the packages revealed pipe bombs.
A law enforcement official told CNN at least one pipe bomb contained projectiles, including shards of glass and the pipe bombs were unstable and could have been set off by handling.
At least one had a timer that can be bought for a few dollars online.
The FBI reported that the packages were in manila envelopes with bubble-wrap interior and each package had six American flag Forever stamps on the envelope.
Law enforcement suggest that the packages were mailed out of and originated in the State of Florida.
PIPE BOMB SUSPECT ARRESTED
The New York Times reported on Friday, October 26, 2018 that Federal authorities made an arrest in connection with the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken Democratic critics of President Trump.
The suspect is identified as Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, of Aventura, Florida.
Sayoc is registered Republican, he has a lengthy criminal history in Florida dating back to 1991.
Sayoc’s criminal record includes felony theft, drug and fraud charges, as well as being arrested and accused of threatening to use a bomb.
The 2002 bomb charge is based on a threat by Sayoc to blow up the local electric utility if it turned off his utilities.
Sayvoc’s white van was also seized as evidence.
The van’s windows were plastered with a thick collage of pro-Trump stickers.
Photos of the van showed that one of the stickers depicted President Trump standing in front of flames and the American flag.
Another was of Hillary Clinton’s face in the crosshairs of a rifle scope.
A third said: “CNN SUCKS.”
Photos and video have emerged of Sayvoc holding a placard reading “CNN SUCKS” attending a February, 2017 Trump Rally in Melbourne, Florida.
Social media posts maintained by Cesar Sayoc Jr., contain conspiratorial memes promoting President Trump and mocking, criticizing and threatening virtually every prominent Democrat he sent a pipe bomb.
One post involving Eric Holder said “See you real soon. Tick Tock”.
In a September TWEET to Joe Biden he wrote: “Hug your loved son,Niece,wife family real close everytime U walk out your home.”
The Department of Justice has brought five charges against Sayoc in the Southern District of New York.
Sayoc is charged with interstate transportation of an explosive, the illegal mailing of explosives, making threats against former presidents and certain other persons, making threatening interstate communications, and assaulting federal officers with criminal penalties adding up to 58 years in prison.
The criminal complaint can be read here:
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S REACTION TO PIPE BOMBS
On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, after a briefing with FBI, DOJ, Homeland Security and Secret Service and during a subsequent White House function, President Trump had this to say about the “pipe bombs”:
“The safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority. … The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. We will spare no resources or expense in this effort. And I wanted to tell you that, in these times, we have to unify, we have to come together, and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message, that that acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States of America.”
Trump also began an evening rally on Wednesday in Wisconsin by commenting with a straight face and somber voice his desire for “all sides to come together in peace and harmony.”
On Thursday, October 25, 2018, the very a day after CNN and Democrats were the targets of the pipe bombs, Trump in a TWEET blamed the media for much of the “anger” in society by saying:
“A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
Former CIA Director John Brennan, who was an intended recipient of one of the pipe bombs, responded to Trump’s tweet, telling the President in a scathing tweet of his own:
“Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act. … try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence.”
TRUMP’S INFLAMMATORY COMMENTS AGAINST PIPE BOMB TARGETS
Trump has made the following inflammatory remarks regarding his critics who were sent the pipe bombs:
Regarding former President Barack Obama:
Trump was front and center promoting the proven lie, viewed by many people as racist, that Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, was not born in the United States. Trump went on to proclaim “I think President Obama has been the most ignorant president in our history. His views of the world as he says don’t jibe and the world is a mess.”
Regarding former Vice President Joe Biden:
Trump proclaimed that Biden was “crazy” and “weak, both mentally and physically.”
Regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:
“Crooked Hillary” and “Lock her up!”
Regarding former United States Attorney General Eric Holder:
In a series of tweets acknowledging the anniversary of 9/11, Trump took a jab at Eric Holder saying “Eric Holder could be running the Justice Department right now and it would be behaving no differently than it is.”
Regarding former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Robert O. Brennan:
“John Brennan is panicking. He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of American’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the….top of the FBI.”
Regarding California Congresswoman Maxine Waters:
On June, 25, 2018 Trump said on Twitter: “Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!”
On the news media, Trump has said:
Trump tweeted n February 17, 2018,“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
On December 10, 2017, Trump tweeted “Very little discussion of all the purposely false and defamatory stories put out this week by the Fake News Media. They are out of control – correct reporting means nothing to them. Major lies written, then forced to be withdrawn after they are exposed… A STAIN ON AMERICA!
TRUMP ENJOYS ENCOURAGING VIOLENCE
On January 23, 2016, Donald Trump said at a rally in Sioux Center that his supporters are so loyal that he would not lose backers even if he were to shoot someone in the middle of downtown Manhattan.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” “It’s, like, incredible.
On February 21, 2016, Trump told a crowd of his supporters in Cedar Rapids that he would pay their legal fees if they engaged in violence against protesters and said:
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell out of them … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
On March 9, 2016, as a protester was being escorted out of a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was sucker-punched by another attendee.
At a Las Vegas campaign rally in March, 2016 Trump said security guards were too gentle with a protester and said “He’s walking out with big high-fives, smiling, laughing. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”
In yet another campaign rally in March, 2016 in Warren, Michigan, Trump said of a protester “Get him out. …Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.”
In July 2017 during a speech to police officials, Trump encourage law enforcement officials to be more violent in handling arrested offenders when he said:
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice … When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head you know, the way you put their hand over [their head],” Trump continued, mimicking the motion. Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. … You can take the hand away, OK?’”
During a rally in Montana just last week ahead of the 2018 midterms, Trump praised Republican Greg Gianforte for body slamming a reporter while running for his congressional seat in 2017 and said “any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type!”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
There is no doubt that President Trump promotes hostility, mistrust and violence towards the press as well as his critics with his own words and actions.
Trump promoted violence, hostility and mistrust when he was running for President and he is doing it now at his political rallies before the midterms.
Trump has often derided the media as “fake news,” even labeling reporters as “enemy of the people”.
A few months ago, Trump told his supporters at one of his pre-2018 mid-term rallies:
“I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!”
Trump’s blaming of the media for the “anger” in this country a day after potential pipe bomb attacks on a major media outlet and political figures who have criticized him is outrageous and dangerous.
Our President has repeatedly used harsh rhetoric targeting journalists and political opponents during campaign rallies creating and inflaming an extremely tense and divisive political environment of hostility, mistrust and violence.
Trump refuses to take any responsibility for promoting hostility and mistrust, and at times violence, in this county and against his critics and American citizens.
The Republican US Senate and US House leadership do not object in any meaningful way Trump’s antic’s thereby condoning his words and actions.
Voters need to hold Trump accountable for his words and actions of promoting hostility, mistrust and violence towards others by voting in the midterms for a Democratic controlled House and Senate.
Sooner rather than later, Trump our “reality TV host” President is going to get someone killed shooting off his mouth.