Since Monday a series of pipe bombs have been mailed or delivered to a particular group of Democratic and liberal political figures.
To former President Barack Obama’s office in Washington, D.C., to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s home in New York, to billionaire liberal philanthropist George Soros at his home in New York, to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), intercepted at a congressional mail facility, and to former CIA Director John Brennan, addressed to him at the studios of CNN. A fifth bomb was sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder but was misaddressed. It was returned to the office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
Based on what information has been released to the public, all of the bombs appear to share the same design and packaging, suggesting they are all the work of a single group or individual. The recipient list and the political climate in America strongly suggests these attacks amount domestic terrorism. As extremism expert JJ MacNab notes:
While George Soros, John Brennan, Hillary Clinton, and Maxine Waters are active boogeymen in right wing chatter, Eric Holder, Obama, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (used as the return address) are relatively outdated in comparison.
— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) October 24, 2018
But more importantly, all of the targets share something else in common. Each has been critical of the current administration, and each has been repeatedly and publicly attacked by President Donald Trump, either at his rallies, or via Twitter, or both.
As counterterrorism expert Mubin Shaikh remarked on Twitter earlier today, “sending mail bombs to coerce or kill politicians is 100% the definition of terrorism.” He’s absolutely right. As I’ve written before, President Trump counts among the ranks of his supporters individuals and groups who have expressed their willingness to take up arms against their fellow Americans. He has refused to condemn extremist violence perpetrated by those whose approval he courts.
Inciting violence against his critics was a regular feature of Trump’s campaign rallies, one his followers all too often acted upon. Here’s a handy compilation if you need a reminder:
Trump just said, "Acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America."
Here are some other things Trump has said: pic.twitter.com/lSQrylR7UP
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) October 24, 2018
Now it seems more than likely that the president’s own rhetoric has once again lit the fuse.