In the wake of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue and a series of mail bombings addressed to prominent Democrats and CNN, President Donald Trump said Monday the “great anger in our Country” is “caused in part” by the “Fake News Media.”
Hours earlier, Trump claimed “Fake News” is attempting to “blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country.”
Eleven people were killed and six wounded Saturday at Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Alleged shooter Robert Bowers had posted anti-Semitic comments on the unmoderated social media network Gab, which has reportedly been taken offline.
Last week, 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, an avid Trump supporter who had emblazoned his van windows with anti-Democrat and pro-Trump stickers, was arrested in Florida by federal authorities in connection with a series of mail bombs addressed to high-profile Democrats.
Former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Rep. Maxine Waters and others were targeted with pipe bombs mailed to their offices or homes. Time Warner Center, the Manhattan building housing CNN offices, was evacuated after a suspicious package was discovered in a mail room. A separate bomb addressed to CNN was found at a postal facility in New York, according to the network.
On Monday morning, CNN reported that another package addressed to the news network, similar to the ones sent by Sayoc, had been intercepted at a mail facility in Atlanta, Georgia. “There is no imminent danger to the CNN Center,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said in a statement.
Trump has repeatedly referred to mainstream media outlets as “the enemy of the people,” claiming the press is biased against him and his supporters and supportive of left-wing politics. The president often targets CNN by name.
With the midterm elections a week away, the president has also said he has no plans to tone down his increasingly incendiary political rhetoric. “I could really tone it up,” he told reporters Friday afternoon before departing the White House for a campaign-style rally in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Asked if he planned to call the Clintons or Obamas after they were targeted with the explosives, Trump said “I think we’ll probably pass.”
The president also said in a tweet Friday that the “‘Bomb’ stuff” was slowing Republican momentum in early voting for the midterms.
The first mail bomb to be discovered was addressed to billionaire political donor George Soros, a pariah among many on the right who accuse him of funding insurgent left-wing political groups. The bomb was found in the mailbox of Soros’ Bedford, New York, home last Monday.
When Trump addressed the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House four days later, he appeared to respond positively to shouts from the crowd of “Soros” and “lock him up.” That phrase is often chanted at Trump’s rallies in reference to Hillary Clinton, who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
In another shooting last week, alleged gunman Gregory Bush, 51, entered a Louisville, Kentucky, grocery store and killed two black customers. Witnesses told NBC News that Bush, moments after the shooting, told a white bystander in the store’s parking lot that “whites don’t kill whites.”
Correction: This story was revised to delete incorrect information about the origin of migrants in the caravan and to correct that Trump’s address to the Young Black Leadership summit was four days after the Soros mail bomb was found.