‘Nice’ Donald Trump takes aim at media after bombs sent to Clinton, Obama and CNN
- At rally, Trump noted the unusually subdued tone of his remarks
US President Donald Trump blamed the media and others for incivility after a string of home-made bombs were sent to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former president Barack Obama and others, even as he refrained from acknowledging his own inflammatory rhetoric at a campaign rally in Wisconsin.
Trump appeared to make a show of behaving civil throughout his remarks to supporters in Mosinee, a town of about 4,000 people in central Wisconsin.
He was relatively subdued as he spoke, interrupted himself several times to point out that he was “trying to be nice” and took no responsibility for his own role in contributing to the country’s civic discourse.
“No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion or control,” Trump said as he opened his remarks.
“We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony.”
Moments later, he took aim at one of his favourite targets, the news media.
“The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative – and oftentimes, false – attacks and stories,” Trump said.
In an apparent swipe at Democrats, Trump denounced those who “carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains” and who “mob people in public places or destroy public property”.
The president, who has frequently used nicknames such as “Lyin’ Ted” or “Crooked Hillary” to mock his rivals, called for those in the political arena to “stop treating their opponents as morally defective”.
Trump was visiting the state to throw his weight behind candidates including Governor Scott Walker and Republican Senate nominee Leah Vukmir.
Trump’s appearance at the rally came hours after authorities said they had intercepted packages containing home-made bombs addressed to Clinton and Obama.
A suspicious package was found at CNN’s offices in Manhattan, and another addressed to California lawmaker Maxine Waters, was discovered at a congressional mail sorting facility; earlier this week, an explosive device was also found in the postbox of liberal philanthropist George Soros.
In remarks at the White House Wednesday afternoon, Trump condemned the bombs and called for unity.
“We have to come together and send one very clear, strong and unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America,” he said.
Yet some have argued that some of Trump’s own history of incendiary remarks contributed to the attempted attacks.
All five of the recipients are frequent targets of the president and his allies.
“There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media,” Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement.
“The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter.”
Throughout the rally, Trump spoke in an almost listless tone. He touched on his favourite campaign trail themes, including immigration, taxes and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
At one point, the crowd began chanting: “CNN sucks!” but soon stopped, as Trump continued speaking.
And he stopped himself several times to point out that he was making an effort to tone down his typically combative rhetoric.
“By the way, do you see how nice I’m behaving?” Trump said.
“We’re all behaving very well. And hopefully we can keep it that way.”
Wednesday’s rally was the second of four by Trump this week, a frenzied campaign-trail pace that the president has maintained since early this month.
On Monday, Trump swooped into Houston to support his onetime bitter primary rival, Senator Ted Cruz.