Political tensions have been running high in 2018 as the Mueller probe, Brett Kavanaugh scandal and a trade war with China have all have widened the political divide in America.
Tensions have only worsened in recent days as it has been revealed pipe were bombs were sent to influential Democrats this past week including: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, John Brennan, Eric Holder, Kamala Harris, Robert De Niro and political philanthropists Bill Steyer and George Soros — all targets of assassination attempts.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were the most recent targets, receiving packages early Friday morning.
None of the bombs exploded and none of the targets have been harmed. However, law enforcement officials are still being cautious of the homemade weapons as they continue their investigation.
However, what is clear is the acts were politically motivated. All of the targets were known foes of President Trump, and with midterm elections less than two weeks away, it is clear the perpetrator wanted to send a message to Democratic voters.
On Friday, federal authorities apprehended the suspect, Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old registered Republican from Aventura, Fla., near the postal facility from which many of the packages were mailed, placing him in proximity of the crime.
State records show Sayoc had a criminal record dating back to the early 1990s, including a past arrest for making a bomb threat. Authorities were able to trace Sayoc after lifting fingerprints from a bomb package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and linking them with fingerprints found from previously obtained evidence.
Sayoc, an avid Trump supporter, was heavily critical of Soros and Obama in particular. Windows of the suspect’s van were also found to have been covered with images critical of CNN.
Sayoc has been charged with multiple counts, including transporting explosives across state lines, illegally mailing explosives, threatening former presidents and assaulting federal officials. Sayoc could face up to 58 years in prison.
Vice President Pence commented on the news Wednesday when dangerous packages were found sent to Obama and Clinton, while Trump followed-up on Friday.
We condemn the attempted attacks against fmr Pres Obama, the Clintons, @CNN & others. These cowardly actions are despicable & have no place in this Country. Grateful for swift response of @SecretService, @FBI & local law enforcement. Those responsible will be brought to justice.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 24, 2018
I want to applaud the FBI, Secret Service, Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York, the NYPD, and all Law Enforcement partners across the Country for their incredible work, skill and determination!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
Despite the condemnation of violence, many Americans are still critical of the president. For some, the attempt to assassinate Democratic leaders is yet another example which links Trump to controversial and divisive actions on the part of his supporters.
With midterms around the corner, law enforcement must remain vigilant, as political tumult continues to provoke violence.
[NBC News] [New York Times] [New York Post] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Broward County Sheriff / WPLG via AFP/amNewYork]