New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threw veiled jabs at President Donald Trump on Wednesday, suggesting that he’s responsible for inspiring a series of attempted mail-bombings by creating a toxic political atmosphere.
Police intercepted suspected explosive devices sent to former U.S. President Barack Obama, former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and other Democratic officials, and the CNN bureau in New York – apparent attempts to target figures Trump regularly disparages in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 congressional elections.
‘This is clearly an act of terrorism,’ de Blasio told reporters, before throwing an unmistabakle jab at Trump by saying a shift away from ‘a lot of hatred and division’ in American politics ‘has to start at the top.’
‘Let’s just say this to all public officials of all partisan affiliations: Don’t encourage violence, don’t encourage hatred, don’t encourage attacks on media,’ he said.
Trump hasn’t urged physical attacks on reporters. But he does regularly criticize outlets as ‘fake news’ if he sees their coverage as unfair. ‘CNN sucks!’ is a frequent crowd chant at his rallies.
‘This atmosphere of hatred is contributing to the choices people are making to turn to violence,’ de Blasio claimed. ‘There’s no question about it.’
During his turn at the microphone, Cuomo brushed off a journalist’s request to tie the day’s events directly to Trump.
But he pinned the suspicious packages on ‘overheated rhetoric’ and ‘extremism that pushes people to violence,’ leaving the presidential allusions hanging in midair.
‘Keeping the debate and the dialogue civil is very, very important. And for elected leaders who in many ways set the tone, it is especially important,’ Cuomo said.
Wednesday’s packages brought a new level of tension to political contests that will decide whether Democrats can challenge the majorities now held by Trump’s Republicans in Congress.