President Trump undermined his calls for unity when he repeated a “Lock Him Up” chant directed at George Soros at a recent meeting with young African-American leaders. Soros, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, was one of the Trump critics who was sent explosive devices in the mail recently. As CBS News reports, over the years he has become a leading figure in alt-right conspiracy theories.
Newsweek reports that Trump began his speech on a positive note.
“We must never allow political violence to take root in America, we cannot let it happen, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to stop it and to stop it now,” he said.
But the tone of his remarks took a sharp left turn when the president started targeting “globalists” who he claims are intent on destroying the American economy.
According to Newsweek, someone in the crowd shouted Soros’ name which triggered the beginning of the “Lock Him Up” chant. Trump reportedly repeated the chant after a chuckle.
President Trump has been criticized for his reaction to the mail bombs sent to his more prominent critics/adversaries. It seems like he’s having some trouble balancing his presidential persona with the need to stump for the Republican Party ahead of the midterm elections in November.
On Friday, he tweeted that news coverage about the bombs was distracting people from the positive Republican performance in early midterm election voting, Newsweek notes.
“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,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning. “Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”
But, as The Atlantic reports, this was a stark divergence from his statement on Wednesday after the first bomb was found at Soros’ home on Tuesday.
“In these times, we have to unify,” Trump said. “We have 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 United States of America.”
— The Hill (@thehill) October 26, 2018
Fortunately none of the people who were mailed explosive devices were hurt.
A 56-year-old Florida man named Cesar Sayoc has been arrested for sending the mail bombs because of DNA found on one of the packages, CNN Politics reports. This is not his first run-in with the law. He was previously arrested for issuing a bomb threat to a utility company in Florida.