On Monday, someone put an explosive device in George Soros’ home mailbox in Katonah, New York. Today, explosive devices have been turning up all over the place.
BREAKING: Suspicious package found at home of former president Bill Clinton & Secretary Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, NY, senior law enforcement officials tell WNBC. The item was similar to the one found at George Soros' home, The New York Times reports. https://t.co/cRFsMFAjEV
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) October 24, 2018
BREAKING: Secret Service: Package identified as `potential explosive device' sent to former President Barack Obama in Washington.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 24, 2018
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) October 24, 2018
Breaking: package was addressed to CNN, specifically former CIA Dir John Brennan.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) October 24, 2018
Sunrise Police Department in Florida confirms to @BuzzFeedNews that the building housing Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office was evacuated after a suspicious package was discovered.
— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) October 24, 2018
NBC News: Here's what we know so far
– The packages are manila in color.
– The packages have similar or identical components.
– The packages all have a return address belonging to a prominent democratic official (we are not naming that person at this time in the investigation).
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) October 24, 2018
BREAKING / NBC News: Another suspicious package sent to Former Attorney General Eric Holder has also been intercepted.
Reported by Pete Williams.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) October 24, 2018
Obviously, there’s a common thread in the targets. George Soros has long been the focus of right-wing conspiracy theories, and he’s been accused of funding the “caravan” of Central American immigrants that has become the “Ebola virus” distraction of this midterm election.
Vice President of Government Affairs for @CampbellSoupCo @johnston_kelly (a former Secretary of the US Senate under Bob Dole) spreading conspiracy theory about @GeorgeSoros' @OpenSociety planning & executing migrant caravan "including where they defecate." https://t.co/vDQvw4mUwh pic.twitter.com/NdLnpGQ9uE
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) October 23, 2018
John Brennan, the CIA director during the Obama administration, has been a vociferous critic of President Trump, and CNN is a frequent target of Trump’s wrath. Eric Holder was the Attorney General during the Obama administration and became a right-wing whipping boy. Debbie Wasserman Schultz led the Democratic National Committee in 2016 until Russian hacking raised doubts about her neutrality in the primaries and forced her resignation. And, of course, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are the most prominent Democrats in the country. To add to the prankish element of this, the packages have a return address of a “prominent Democratic official.”
During a recent MAGA rally in Montana, President Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte for body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Smith shortly before he was elected to Congress.
President Donald Trump celebrated Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte during a rally in Missoula, Montana, on Thursday, cheering the lawmaker as a “tough cookie” over his assault of a reporter last year.
“Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy,” Trump said at the event as supporters cheered him on. “I had heard that he body-slammed a reporter … and he was way up, and I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.’ Then I said, ‘I know Montana pretty well,’ and I said I think it might help him. And it did.”
Riffing off that, I wrote the following tweet:
“Any guy that can do a pipe bomb, he’s my kind of guy. I had heard that he pipe-bombed and I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible, we're going to lose the election.’ Then I said, ‘I know America pretty well,’ and I said I think it might help us." https://t.co/hYEtZ7BLQk
— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) October 24, 2018
I hope that makes the point effectively because there are consequences when the president embraces conspiracy theories, demonizes his political opponents and applauds violence committed against reporters.
We obviously do not yet know who is responsible for sending these bombs and it’s at least theoretically possible that someone did it to make the Republicans look bad. That’s certainly the theory they want to push now to deflect the kind of criticism I am delivering here. Frankly, I think that’s far less likely than the more obvious conclusion that someone was radicalized by overheated and irresponsible rhetoric from within the right-wing media bubble. That rhetoric was introduced by the president of the United States.
Thankfully, no one has been harmed yet, but we don’t know how many more bombs are out there, or whether they will all be successfully intercepted and defused.