Monday 16 September 2019

Media to blame, says Trump as more suspect devices are found

Target: Police at the Time Warner building in New York, where CNN has its HQ
Target: Police at the Time Warner building in New York, where CNN has its HQ

John Wagner

US President Donald Trump yesterday again blamed the media for his nation's "incivility" - as a suspected serial bomber continued to target his opponents and critics.

In an early morning tweet, Mr Trump wrote: "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 it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!"

The tweet was sent amid television coverage of police in New York swarming a block in Lower Manhattan after reports of a suspicious package at a building where actor Robert De Niro has offices.

The package was addressed to De Niro, who verbally attacked Mr Trump in June at the Tony Awards.

Investigators later found a package addressed to former vice-president Joe Biden in a Delaware mail facility that was like the other pipe bombs found this week, according to a law enforcement official.

Mr Trump had also taken aim in the media at a rally in central Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

During the rally, Mr Trump's supporters chanted: "Lock her up" at references to Hillary Clinton, another opponent who had been a target of the mail bomber.

Mr Trump himself was relatively subdued as he spoke, interrupting himself several times to point out that he was "trying to be nice" and taking no responsibility for his own role in contributing to the degraded civic discourse in his country.

"The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative - and often times, false - attacks and stories," Mr Trump said at the rally.

He also denounced those who "carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains" and who "mob people in public places or destroy public property".

Mr Trump has long made the media a target of his ire, denouncing reporters as the "enemy of the people".

The targets of suspicious packages in recent days have all been derided by Mr Trump as well.

After De Niro attacked him in June, Mr Trump fired back on Twitter, calling him a "very Low IQ individual" who had taken "too many shots to the head by real boxers in movies".

One of the undetonated devices was found on Wednesday at the New York HQ of the television network CNN.

It was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, who has been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump since leaving public office. However, Mr Brennan is an on-air analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, rather than CNN.

Mr Brennan responded to Mr Trump's tweet with a scathing tweet of his own.

"Stop blaming others," he wrote. "Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful.

"Clean up your act … try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence."

Democratic senator Chris Murphy also condemned Mr Trump's tweet.

"Rise up, America," he said on Twitter. "The President of the United States is now blaming the attempted murder of Democrats on press criticism of him. I didn't think his narcissism could sink to this ugly of a place. But it has."

In an interview yesterday, Mr Trump's press secretary Sarah Sanders stressed that he has condemned the actions of the suspected bomber.

She insisted that he "could not have been more presidential" in addressing the crisis.

Asked if Mr Trump could go "the extra mile" to foster more civil political discourse, she said: "Look, the president did exactly that last night.

"There is major political … philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans, and there's nothing wrong with pointing those differences out," Ms Sanders added.

"There is something wrong with taking that to a point of violence." (© 2018, The Washington Post)

Irish Independent

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