President Trump called on country to unite against ‘political violence’ on Friday after a suspect was taken into custody for allegedly sending a dozen explosive devices to liberal politicians, pundits and activists.
Trump celebrated the arrest at a White House event for young black conservatives that he arrived nearly an hour late to after a last-minute briefing on the bomb threat investigation from the Homeland Security department.
‘The bottom line is that Americans must unify. And we must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony as fellow American citizens,’ Trump said in the East Room. ‘There is no country like our country, and every day we are showing the world just how truly great we are.’
President Trump called on country to unite against political violence on Friday after a suspect was taken into custody for allegedly sending a dozen explosive devices to liberal politicians, pundits and activists
‘Globalists!’ Trump said ointing a chuckling at an attendee who apparently said Trump’s opponents’ should be jailed minutes after the president’s call for unity. ‘Heh, heh. “Lock ’em up,” ‘ Trump parroted
The suspect in a mail bombing spree targeting critics of President Trump, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had been identified minutes before.
Police took Cesar Altier Sayoc into custody on Friday morning in Plantation, Florida in connection with the 12 suspicious packages that were sent to Clinton, former President Barack Obama, CNN and other political opponents of the president.
According to Sayoc’s Facebook page, he is a Trump fan who posted pictures and videos of himself at one of the President’s rallies in October 2016. He posted a photograph of himself wearing a MAGA hat in front of the US Capitol in 2017.
Trump praised law enforcement for doing an ‘incredible job’ in catching the suspect at an early afternoon event at which he claimed he may be the most ‘attacked’ person in America and his ‘America First’ agenda is ‘a movement of tolerance and unity and progress.’
Cesar Altier Sayoc was taken into custody on Friday morning in Plantation, Florida in connection with the bombs
He complained that his supporters are under ‘attack’ for their beliefs by liberals. ‘They’re attacking us because we are speaking the truth, changing people’s minds and proving every day that our policies work and that we are really doing what’s right and what’s good,’ he said.
‘And I get attacked also. You get attached. I get attacked all the time. In fact, I’m just thinking, come to think of it, who gets attacked more than me?’ he asked his Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. ‘I get attacked. I think I, maybe more. Maybe. Maybe more than anybody.’
Trump defended ‘America First’ at the rally from liberal claims that the slogan is ‘racist.’ He told attendees he doesn’t understand what’s ‘racist’ about an agenda that advances American interests.
The president argued that ‘every citizen benefits when we stop foreign countries from cheating our workers’ — a policy position he claimed globalists support.
‘Globalists!’ he said he lampooned pointing a chuckling at an attendee who apparently said Trump’s ideological opponents’ should be jailed. ‘Heh, heh. “Lock ’em up,” ‘ Trump parroted.
Sayoc posted a photograph of himself wearing a MAGA hat in front of the US Capitol in 2017
Trump celebrated the arrest at a White House event for young black conservatives that he arrived nearly an hour late to after a last-minute briefing on the bomb threat investigation from the Homeland Security department
Trump complained that his supporters are under ‘attack’ for their beliefs by liberals at the event where he announced the arrest of a suspect targeting his political opponents
Trump had refrained from leading a crowd on Wednesday night in Wisconsin in the refrain as the manhunt continued for the individual sending pipe bombs in the mail to Obama administration officials. Liberal activist George Soros, CNN and a restaurant owned by Robert DeNiro also received packages that law enforcement officials were treating like active explosive devices.
He said that he was toning down his remarks in response to the bomb threats and following his own advice to be civil to one’s political opponents.
Trump got in a jab, however, at his critics in the media. He argued again that news outlets are inviting division the following morning in a tweet that doubling down on the comments.
On Friday, as he complained about how often he believes he is ‘attacked’ Trump started to refer to media outlets whose coverage he disagrees with as fake news but stopped himself.
‘I can do the greatest thing for our country and on the networks and on different things, it will show bad. They will take it back – he goes “Fake news” – but they will, no matter what, if it’s, I won’t use examples and today is just sort of a very special day because we caught somebody that hopefully that’ll all pan out to be 100 percent but it probably will,’ he said. ‘But you know, we all get attacked, and we’re smart and we understand where they’re all coming from.’
Roughly a half hour before news outlets began reporting an arrest in the case, the president opined on Twitter that the bomb threats were getting in the way of his election message and damaging Republicans’ re-election odds.
‘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,’ he said. ‘Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!’
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday that the explosive devices were not hoaxes, although it remained unclear after a news conference whether they could actually detonate.
The tweet paired with his remarks at the White House event on Friday afternoon suggested that he was eager to return to the Democratic taunting his rallies are known for at an evening rally in Charlotte.
Earlier on Friday police arrested a suspect in the bombing campaign who appeared to be a Trump supporter based on his footprint on social media.
In a post a year ago, Sayoc shared a photograph of Governor Rick Scott and Donald Trump, writing: ‘The greatest Governor in Country Fla Rick Scott and great friend of We Unconquered Seminole Tribe . Trump Trump Trump’
He expressed his dislike of Hillary Clinton and posted stories about incidents of Islamic terrorism.
The suspect in his 50s was arrested in front of an AutoZone store in Plantation, a police source told DailyMail.com.
Michelle Taylor, a nurse at the Senior Medical Associates clinic, saw police taking a vehicle believed to be Sayoc’s into custody.
‘We’ve been in the office for an hour and we’re so nervous,’ she said. ‘The police were surrounding some kind of a van. Thank God we’re done with our patients for the day and there’s only two of us in here.’
According to Sayoc’s Facebook page, he is a Trump fan who posted pictures of himself wearing a ‘MAGA’ hat
Sayoc is seen at an event supporting Trump and wearing a ‘MAGA’ hat in this photo posted to Facebook in October 2016
A driver snapped a photo of this van, believed to belong to Sayoc. The van is seen covered in stickers expressing support for Trump, and disdain for his liberal critics
The person who took the photos was not aware of the connection to the investigation, but noted the odd amount of stickers
A witness who works at Marlins Insurance said dozens of police cars descended on the area around State Road 7 and SW 8th Street about 10am, a few feet away from her office.
‘It’s really bad,’ the woman said by telephone. She declined to give her name. ‘We heard a loud bang, like a bomb exploding. Police officers who told us to stay inside said they were arrested the guy who’s been sending bombs all over the place. It’s pretty scary but we’re inside trying to get some work done.’
The suspect is reportedly a former resident of New York who is living in Florida. The 12 mail bombs are all believed to have been handled by a regional mail sorting facility in southern Florida.
The suspect is known to law enforcement, and has a history of making terrorist threats to judges, sources said.
Heavy police activity was seen in Plantation, Florida, a town to the west of Fort Lauderdale and directly south of Sunrise, the location of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office in the area. The bombs listed her office as their return address.
Police impounded a white panel van that is believed to be connected to the investigation.
Police impounded a white panel van (above) that is believed to be connected to the investigation
Investigators are seen impounding a white panel van in Plantation, Florida on Friday in connection with an arrest
The van as covered with a blue tarp and transported away by investigators after the arrest on Friday
Earlier in the day, the investigators said they had found two new packages believed to be part of the mail bombing spree, addressed to Senator Cory Booker and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Investigators said the package to Booker was discovered on Thursday night at a mail sorting facility in Florida, while the authorities said package addressed to Clapper, a CNN contributor, had been found at a postal facility in Manhattan on Friday.
The two new packages marked the 11th and 12th suspected mail bombs in a spree that has targeted critics of Trump.
The FBI found two new packages believed to be part of the mail bombing spree, addressed to Senator Cory Booker (left) and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right)
The suspicious package (above) addressed to James Clapper at the Time Warner Center was intercepted by postal inspectors at a Manhattan sorting facility on Friday morning
NYPD’s Total Containment vessel arrives as law enforcement respond to the scene of a suspicious package at a postal facility on Friday in New York
The Total Containment Vessel is used to transport explosive devices and is designed to contain powerful blasts
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller was on scene during an investigation of a bomb addressed to James Clapper at a US Post Office on W 52nd Street on Friday in Manhattan
FDNY set up a command post at an investigation of a bomb at a postal sorting facility in Midtown Manhattan on Friday
A police dog assists in a suspicious package response at a postal facility in Manhattan on Friday morning
Postal workers stand on the street after evacuating a sorting facility during a report of a suspicious package in Manhattan
Postal workers stand on the street after evacuating a Midtown Manhattan postal facility on Friday
The facility was evacuated after inspectors intercepted a suspicious package addressed to James Clapper
The map above shows the locations of 12 suspicious packages that have all been linked to a mail bombing spree
The package to Clapper was addressed to CNN’s headquarters in the Time Warner Center in Midtown Manhattan, but was intercepted before delivery.
A photo of the package showed that it matched notable characteristics of the previous mail bombs, none of which have exploded.
Clapper joined CNN as a contributor after stepping down as the nation’s most senior intelligence official last year.
‘At least they got the correct spelling of my name and they got the right network,’ Clapper said in remarks to CNN, referring to a mail bomb sent to CNN earlier this week and addressed to John Brennan, a former CIA director, who is a contributor to MSNBC.
‘This is definitely domestic terrorism, no question about it in my mind,’ Clapper said in an interview with the cable network. ‘This is not going to silence the administration´s critics.’
Clapper said that he had been on vacation with his wife, and had warned the neighbors who were collecting his mail to be on the lookout for suspicious packages as the mail bomb spree developed this week.
Like the other targets in the mail bomb spree, Clapper has been harshly critical of Trump. In a speech last year, he said that Trump was guilty of ‘ignorance or disrespect.’
First respondents are seen on the scene where suspicious package was found in Midtown. There were no reports of injuries and the stretcher is believed to be a precaution
Police respond to a report of a suspicious package at a postal facility in Midtown Manhattan on Friday morning
Police respond to a report of a suspicious package in the Manhattan borough of New York
Police swarmed the area outside a Manhattan postal facility after a package was found
The package intercepted on Friday was addressed to Clapper care of CNN, but was spotted by postal inspectors at a sorting facility before delivery.
The NYPD bomb squad was on scene at the postal facility at West 52nd Street and 8th Avenue on Friday morning. Streets in the area were closed off and postal workers were seen waiting on the sidewalks after the facility was evacuated.
On Thursday, a local police bomb squad and canine units joined federal investigators to examine a sprawling U.S. mail distribution center at Opa-Locka, northwest of Miami, Miami-Dade County police said.
Investigators believe that all of the suspicious packages were sorted at the facility, which processes mail regionally in South Florida.
It was at the Opa-Locka facility that the 11th bomb was discovered, addressed to Senator Booker.
Booker is a Democrat from New Jersey. He is a presumptive candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2020. The identity and motives of the bomber have not been revealed, however, with the FBI saying it is pursuing the case as the agency’s highest priority.
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC on Friday that the mail bombs were stoking fear across the county and that U.S. leaders, including Trump, must reassure the public.
Elected officials and others need to say that this is not who we are as a country, Warner said. ‘That would be a heck of a lot stronger if that message also came from the White House.’