At a rally Wednesday evening in Wisconsin, and then again on Twitter Thursday morning, President Trump responded to the multiple suspected pipe bombs sent to Democratic figures like Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and former Attorney General Eric Holder, blaming the media for somehow fomenting anger and creating division.
The president also decried the very kinds of personalized attacks he makes on a regular basis, including to several of those targeted by the bombs.
Trump condemned threats of political violence as “an an attack on our democracy itself,” but also said that “the language of moral condemnation and destruction routine” needed to stop. He then proceeded to attack the media directly.
“The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories,” he said at the rally. The media “can’t take a joke” he also quipped at one point.
In a tweet Thursday morning, Trump doubled down.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
“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,” he wrote. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
At no point in any of his remarks did Trump mention by name any of the individuals who have seemingly been targeted with attempted bombings, including Clinton, Obama, and Holder, as well as progressive billionaire philanthropist George Soros, former CIA director John Brennan, and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-FL).
The suspicious package for Brennan was sent to CNN, which has been the target of Trump’s biggest and most consistent attacks on the media.
Two more names were added to the list of people who have received suspicious packages Thursday morning: actor Robert de Niro, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, and Vice President Joe Biden.
In addition to attacking the media Wednesday night, Trump further undermined his own call for fewer political attacks by once again demonizing those who opposed the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Without specifying the “they” he was attacking, he lashed out at “the way they made him suffer” and insisted the country had to “get rid of that kind of treatment.” Trump has previously claimed the allegations against Kavanaugh were a “hoax set up by the Democrats.”
On Wednesday, CNN president Jeff Zucker called out Trump and the White House for not taking the bombing attempts seriously. Following Trump’s lead, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders countered that it was Zucker who “chose to attack and divide.”
.@realDonaldTrump asked Americans “to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the USA” Yet you chose to attack and divide. America should unite against all political violence. https://t.co/Dlo3xwHyKi
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) October 25, 2018
“It is absolutely disgraceful that one of the first public statements we heard from CNN yesterday was to put the blame for this despicable act on the president and on me personally,” Sanders said in an interview with Fox News Thursday morning. “The person that is responsible for [the bombs] is the person who made and created them.”
Just last week, Trump was praising Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) for having physically assaulted a reporter, to massive applause and cheers from supporters.