From the moment the first reports aired about a rash of pipe bombs mailed to prominent critics of the Trump administration, conservative activists began looking for ways to discredit the attempted political assassinations as false flag operations designed to cast Democrats as victims.
But in typical Republican fashion, mainstream figures within the party were quick to adopt the same position as the violent extremists they like to pretend don’t make up their core constituency. Those figures now include Donald Trump.
Mere minutes after two more explosives were discovered — one in New York City addressed to CNN and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whom Trump referred to as a “lying machine,” the other to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), whom Trump has repeatedly attacked at campaign rallies — Trump suggested via Twitter that the bombs were a political ploy on behalf of Democrats.
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
Donald Trump bemoaning the media’s refusal to indulge in baseless conspiracy theories about the political implications of the attempted bombings of his political enemies further underscores the divide between the news media and his own propaganda network, which has no such qualms lending their airwaves to spread disinformation. Several Fox News personalities — including Lou Dobbs and Candace Owens — have spewed the same conspiratorial drivel for days. Trump, who either refuses or does not care to read, is notorious for watching Fox News for hours instead of working.
Donald Trump is a well-known conspiracy theorist. His entry into modern politics was by questioning the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, and he won the Republican nomination in 2016 in part by attacking his opponents with baseless conspiracy theories.
Trump’s tweet also undermines his own administration’s talking points. On Thursday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared on Fox & Friends and lied to viewers, stating, “[the president] condemned this violence. Let’s not get lost in who is responsible for this heinous act: It is the person who made and sent these suspicious packages. Let’s not forget that that is ultimately the person that is responsible and will be held responsible by this administration.”
In fact, it seems clear that Donald Trump does not believe any actual violence occurred at all, and that the only people to blame for the ongoing attack are Democrats with a political agenda. Roughly an hour after Trump’s tweet, federal authorities announced they had arrested a middle-aged male in connection to the bombings, and impounded a white van covered in pro-Trump and pro-Republican bumper stickers.