A North Carolina Republican Party headquarters was firebombed on Sunday and an ominous threat was painted on the building’s wall, but the ugly act of political violence ended up turning into a show of solidarity between the rival political parties.
The attack happened in Hillsborough, where police said someone threw a bottle of flammable liquid through the window of the Orange County Republican headquarters. The building was destroyed, as were all of the campaign yard signs and supplies inside, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Someone also spray-painted a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else” on the side of a nearby building.
There was some immediate political tension after the GOP office firebombing. Republican Donald Trump tweeted a message blaming Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party for the attack, though there is not yet any official word from police on who may have attacked the building or why.
Many Trump supporters echoed his statement, blaming Clinton and Democrats as well as the mainstream media for causing the hatred that led to the attack. Others termed it an act of political terrorism meant to silence the Republican Party.
But Democrats quickly rallied to the aid of their political rivals. Within hours of the news being released, someone started a GoFundMe page to help the party rebuild its headquarters as soon as possible.
“On October 16, a North Carolina headquarters of the Republican Party was firebombed, and an abhorrent threat was painted on its outside wall.”
“As Democrats, we are starting this campaign to enable the Orange County, North Carolina Republican office to re-open as soon as possible.”
“Until an investigation is undertaken, we cannot know who did this or why. No matter the result, this is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs.”
The page came with a $10,000 goal that was reached in less than four hours. The fundraiser ended up with a total of $13,167 before it was closed. Many of the people who donated also left messages of support for the Republican Party, with donors across the country condemning the apparent act of political terrorism.
The county where the attack happened is one of the most left-leaning areas of North Carolina, the home of the University of North Carolina in nearby Chapel Hill. Democrats outnumber Republican 5-to-1 in the county.
It was not clear if the fundraiser was in any way a response to Donald Trump’s accusations, as the GoFundMe page was created at close to the same time that Trump made his now-controversial tweet. But it is clear online that many Democrats are just as vocal in condemning the attack, with elected officials and normal voters using social media to speak out.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said the firebombing was “an attack on our democracy.”
“The firebombing of a local political headquarters in Orange County is clearly an attack on our democracy,” McCrory said in a statement (via the Charlotte Observer). “Violence has no place in our society – but especially in our elections. … I will use every resource as governor to assist local authorities in this investigation.”
Hillary Clinton left her own message for the party, calling the attack “horrific and unacceptable.”
Local police are working with agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the bombing. Local GOP officials have not yet said the cost of the damages to the firebombed building, but they will now have a $13,167 head start in making the repairs.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Drew/AP Images]