Last week, a man named Cesar Sayoc Jr. sent pipe bombs through the mail to multiple high-profile Democrats and critics of President Trump. On Friday, the 56 year-old Florida resident was accused of sending these bombs and arrested.
Last Monday, the first bomb arrived at the home of George Soros, a prominent Democratic donor and the subject of far-right conspiracy theories. The FBI took photos of the bomb before bomb technicians safely detonated it. At the time, it wasn’t known that it would be a part of a series of bombs delivered through the mail.
The following day, the Secret Service discovered another pipe bomb addressed to Hillary Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York, but the this package's existence wasn’t reported until the next day. On Wednesday, devices were either intercepted or delivered to former President Barack Obama, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, former Director of the CIA John Brennan, and former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The bomb delivered to Brennan led to the evacuation of CNN offices in New York City.
Since then, at least 14 bombs have been discovered that were addressed to high-profile Democrats and outspoken critics of the far-right, including Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Is everyone safe?None of the bombs harmed any of the intended targets, and they have all been disposed of. Sayoc has been taken into custody and law enforcement officials believe that there are likely no more devices traveling through the mail, presumably putting the threat to rest.
Why does this matter?
Along with the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and the killing of two African Americans in a Kentucky supermarket, this bomb scare came during a violent week right before a crucial midterm election that will decide which party controls the House and Senate.
President Trump spoke out against the attempted attacks before the situation was resolved: “We have to come together and send one clear and strong message that acts of threats or political violence have no place in the United States of America,” the president said in a speech.
However, some, both directly and indirectly, have accused Trump of being the cause for this political violence. Brennan, one of the targets of the bombs, said that the president’s rhetoric against the media and his opponents have “emboldened individuals to take matters in their own hands.”
Hours after discovering that he was the target of a pipe bomb, Biden gave a speech where he said that “words matter,” an apparent reference to Trump’s harsh and hostile rhetoric.