WASHINGTON — President Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a rally in North Carolina today that this week’s mail bombs knocked off momentum that the GOP had been building up before Nov. 6 midterm elections.
That followed a Trump tweet from earlier in the day: “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!”
Authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Fla., today, taking away his white van that had pro-Trump and anti-Dem messages plastered on the windows.
New packages were intercepted today at a Burlingame, Calif., post office addressed to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and billionaire Tom Steyer, who has been leading an online campaign to impeach the president. A package addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was received at CNN headquarters in New York. A package addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was intercepted in Florida.
They join recipients George Soros, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Waters and Biden each had two packages mailed to them.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the pipe bombs were “not hoax devices.”
“I did not see my face on the van. I don’t know — I heard he was a person that preferred me over others, but I did not see that,” Trump told reporters.
“There’s no blame. There’s no anything. If you look at what happened to Steve Scalise, that was from a supporter of a different party. If you look at what happened on — numerous of these incidents, they were supporters of others. No,” he added. “I’m just really proud of law enforcement. I think they did an incredible job.”
Trump said that “the Republicans had tremendous momentum, and then, of course, this happened, where all that you people talked about was that.”
“And rightfully so. It was a big thing. Rightfully so,” he said. “But now we have to start the momentum again.”
The president was asked if he would call Obama or any other of the targets who received the IEDs.
“If they wanted me to,” Trump replied. “But I think we’ll probably pass.”
Obama was campaigning for Democratic candidates at a rally today in Milwaukee, and referenced a New York Times story this week — which Trump called “long and boring” and “soooo wrong” — that said the president insists on using an unsecured iPhone despite warnings from the intelligence community that Russia and China are listening in on his calls.
“In the last election it was Hillary’s e-mails. ‘This is terrible.’ Hillary’s e-mails — we were hearing e-mails everywhere. ‘This is a national security crisis,'” Obama told the crowd. “They didn’t care about e-mails. And you know how they know? Because, if they did, they’d be up in arms right now as the Chinese are listening to the president’s iPhone that he leaves in his golf cart.”
“It turns out it wasn’t — I guess it wasn’t that important,” he added.