President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE accused the news media of trying to “score political points” on Friday after a suspect was taken into custody following a spate of attempted mail bombings targeting prominent Democrats.
Trump argued during a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday night that the “media has a major role to play whether they want to or not” in repairing the civility of political discourse.
The crowd responded by chanting “media sucks.”
“The media’s constant unfair coverage, deep hostility and negative attacks only serve to drive people apart and to undermine healthy debate,” Trump continued.
The president then accused the news media of attempting to use the mail bombing case as ammunition against him and the GOP.
“We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party,” Trump charged.
He then pointed to last year’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., where the gunman targeted Republican lawmakers.
“When a Bernie Sanders supporter tried to murder congressional Republicans … we did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain because that would have been wrong,” Trump said.
“Nor do we blame the Democrat Party every time radical leftists seize and destroy public property and unleash violence and mayhem,” he said.
“Yet, the media has tried to attack the incredible Americans who support our movement to give power back to the people.”
Authorities on Friday arrested and charged a Florida man named Cesar Sayoc Jr. with five federal crimes in connection with the explosives mailed to more than a dozen Democrats this week, including former President Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE.
Sayoc regularly posted pro-Trump and anti-Democratic content on social media channels and was taken into custody on Friday with a van that had a number of pro-Trump stickers and decals.
When asked earlier Friday about Sayoc being a supporter of his, Trump acknowledged Sayoc as a “a person that preferred me over others” but claimed not to have seen the stickers on the van.
“I did not. I did not see my face on the van,” he said.
CNN also uncovered a video of Sayoc at a Trump rally in 2017, where the suspect was holding an anti-CNN poster.
CNN’s Rene Marsh also noted that looking through Sayoc’s social media presence it was evident that “he had his eyes on his targets before he even mailed those suspicious packages.”
“Because you go through, there’s essentially a tweet for almost every person targeted from Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE to the Clintons, to the Obamas, to CNN. He has a negative comment about all of those people on his Twitter feed.”
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