Donald Trump appeared to cast doubt on the motive for a series of bombs mailed to top Democrats and other frequent targets of his anger, complaining on Friday that the incidents are taking attention away from Republican “momentum” leading into the critical midterm elections.
Trump has been sharply criticized for his response to the bombs sent to a number of his frequent targets, including Barack Obama and the New York offices of CNN, and drew more criticism for a tweet that many interpreted as feeding into conspiracy theories that the bombings are a hoax. Trump wrote that Republicans were “doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows.”
The statement was slammed for appearing to feed into the conspiracy theories among conservatives that the bombings were actually orchestrated by liberals in an attempt to gain an edge in the upcoming election. A number of other conservative personalities have claimed, without evidence, that the bombings may be a “false flag” attack meant to garner sympathy.
Trump had already been slammed for his lack of response to the attempted bombings, with reports that he had not called the people who were targeted to express sympathies, and made no official statement from the Oval Office, only addressing the attempted attacks at a campaign rally and a brief statement to reporters at a White House event.
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
Trump only briefly addressed the bombings on Twitter, offering a three-word response to Vice President Mike Pence’s tweet condemning the bombing — saying “I wholeheartedly agree!”
But Trump quickly shifted, placing partial blame on the media for what he claimed was fostering hostility. Trump was also slammed for his campaign sending out an email to supporters blasting CNN just hours after a bomb was discovered at the network. Campaign officials claimed that the email had been scheduled to go out, but it was not rescinded in the wake of the attempted bombing.
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
Amid the criticism, the White House defended Trump’s response, trying to re-focus the discussion on the attempted attacks themselves.
“Let’s not get lost in who is responsible for this heinous act,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a Thursday appearance on Fox & Friends.
“It is the person who made and sent these suspicious packages.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 26, 2018
Donald Trump’s tweet came just a little more than an hour before authorities announced that a suspect had been arrested in the bombings.