- Democrats and other critics of President Donald Trump are blaming Republican leaders for either explicitly or indirectly condoning violence against Democrats and the media.
- Packages containing explosive devices were sent by mail to high-profile Democrats this week, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
- All of those targeted were critics of the president whom Trump has in turn attacked relentlessly.
- “That someone would seek to kill their political enemies is not aberrational but rather the inevitable consequence of Trump’s incitement,” the former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt tweeted Wednesday.
Democrats and other critics of President Donald Trump are blaming Republican leaders for either explicitly or indirectly condoning violence against Democrats and the media following multiple bomb scares this week.
Packages containing explosive devices were sent by mail on Tuesday and Wednesday to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, and the CNN offices in New York. On Monday, a similar explosive device was found at the home of George Soros, the billionaire liberal donor and philanthropist.
Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to Obama, expressed doubt that Republicans, including House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, were sincere in their condemnations of the attempted violence.
“Those behind such reprehensible acts must be brought to justice,” Ryan tweeted on Wednesday morning. “We cannot tolerate any attempt to terrorize public figures.”
“It’s hard to take this seriously,” Pfeiffer tweeted of Ryan’s statement.
By Wednesday afternoon, the hashtag #MAGABomber – referring to the perpetraot of the attack as a right-wing extremist – was trending on Twitter.
Former CIA Director John Brennan and Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, were also recipients of explosive devices. All of those targeted are Trump critics whom the president has in turn attacked relentlessly.
It's hard to take this seriously. Paul Ryan stood idly by while Republicans chanted "lock her up" at Clinton, advanced a racist conspiracy theory about Barack Obama, and blamed George Soros for everything under the sun. https://t.co/819rIZ2lLe
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) October 24, 2018
Obama has publicly slammed Trump’s attacks on the press, which Trump has repeatedly asserted is “the enemy of the people.” Obama has painted the criticism as being un-American, while many others have insisted the characterization poses a danger to journalists.
“It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like,” Obama said during a speech in Illinois in September.
Trump has made CNN a particular target of his assault on the media, regularly calling the cable news network “fake news.”
Democrats also pointed to the popular GOP rallying cry “Lock her up!” which Trump and his allies used to demonize Clinton and whip up enthusiasm at rallies during the 2016 election. The president also encouraged his supporters to physically confront political opponents on numerous occasions during the 2016 election.
During a rally in Iowa earlier this month, the president called Democrats “too dangerous to govern.”
The former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau pointed to an apparent joke Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, made during a rally Monday after an audience member yelled “Lock him up!” in reference to Cruz’s Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Cruz responded, “Well, you know, there’s a double-occupancy cell with Hillary Clinton,” to which the crowd roared.
The lawmaker and former presidential candidate added: “Y’all are gonna get me in trouble with that.”
On Wednesday, Cruz called the attempted attacks on Obama, Clinton, and Soros “deeply, deeply disturbing.”
“Political disagreements are fine, even healthy, but we should always be civil and respect each other’s humanity,” he tweeted.
Last night he told a crowd that Beto O’Rourke and Hillary Clinton should share a jail cell. https://t.co/Y3RxwI4tzo
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) October 24, 2018
Other critics of the president were even clearer about where they lay blame for the attempted violence.
“Trump has stoked a cold civil war in this Country,” tweeted Steve Schmidt, a former Republican strategist who ran Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and announced he was leaving the GOP earlier this year. “His rallies brim with menace and he has labeled journalists as enemies of the people. That someone would seek to kill their political enemies is not aberrational but rather the inevitable consequence of Trump’s incitement.”
Peter Daou, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton, declared on Twitter, “THE FAR RIGHT IS VIOLENT.”
In a statement on Wednesday, the White House condemned “these terrorizing acts,” and the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said “it’s OK to disagree in politics, but it’s never OK to take action against another individual.”