“In these times, we have to unify, we have to come together. That is a very bipartisan statement,” he said at the beginning of a White House event to address the opioid crisis.
He said, “we will spare no resources or expense in this effort” to investigate who sent the packages.
Trump referred to “suspicious packages mailed to current and former high-ranking government officials” but did not identify the intended recipients by name.
Earlier in the day, CNN evacuated its headquarters in New York after a suspicious package was found in its mailroom. Included in the package was a pipe bomb, as well as an envelope with white powder. That was just hours after the Secret Service reported that they intercepted packages meant for former President Barack Obama, and former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Other packages were discovered with former Attorney General Eric Holder, billionaire George Soros — a top Democratic donor — and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)
Authorities were investigating whether the packages were connected. The packages intended for Brennan at CNN, the Clintons, Obama, Holder, and Soros listed Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as its return address, the FBI said. All of the public figures have been targets of the Republican right.
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“The packages are similar in appearance, as depicted in the below photograph, and contain potentially destructive devices,” the FBI said, as it released a photo of one of the packages.
Trump said he was briefed on the incidents by the the FBI, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Secret Service, and said the “full weight” of the government was being deployed in the investigation.
After his remarks, CNN President Jeff Zucker issued a statement in which he said, “There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand that words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
Zucker also told employees that it was safe to return to their offices. “The NYPD has concluded its security sweep, and it is now safe to return to the building,” he said in a memo to staff. “I so appreciate your patience, as I know what a long day this has been for all of you.”
“Time and time again, the President has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions: expressing support for the Congressman who body-slammed a reporter, the neo-Nazis who killed a young woman in Charlottesville, his supporters at rallies who get violent with protestors, dictators around the world who murder their own citizens, and referring to the free press as the enemy of the people,” the said.
At a rally last week, Trump expressed support for the actions of Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana), who body slammed a news reporter on the eve of a special election in that state last year. Trump said that “any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy.”