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Shortly After Urging the Country to Unify at White House Event, Donald Trump Went Off Script and, Yeah, That Didn't Last Long


President Donald Trump railed against Democrats at a White House event meant to call for unity in the wake of the arrest of Cesar Sayoc, the suspect in the string of attempted mail-bombings this week.

Trump began the event by characterizing the bomb scares as a series of "terrorizing acts" that are "despicable and have no place in our country."

"We must never allow political violence to take root in America — cannot let it happen — and I am committed to doing everything in my power to stop it and to stop it now," he added.

Minutes later, the president repeated the phrase "lock them up" about his opponents. He also attacked "globalists" who he says are working with foreign countries to "cheat" American workers.

"They're called globalists. I like the globe too, but we have to take care of our people," he said.

The event, a gathering of young black leaders at the White House, was punctuated by other odd moments, which were documented by Daniel Dale, a Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star. A few of those moments are highlighted below:

Cesar Sayoc was apprehended earlier this afternoon at an Auto Zone shop in Plantation, Florida. Law enforcement took possession of a van covered in pro-Trump stickers. Additionally, photographs of Sayoc attending several #MAGA rallies during the 2016 election cycle emerged online.

Sayoc was identified after DNA was taken from two other suspicious packages were found, one addressed to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and the other to James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence.

Sayoc has a criminal record dating back to at least 1992. He made a bomb threat in 2002, according to Miami-Dade County court records, and pleaded guilty to that offense. He also had financial troubles, and once declared bankruptcy.

Trump praised the FBI and the Secret Service for the arrest, saying: "It’s like a needle in a haystack," Trump said. "And they have done an incredible, incredible job."

The arrest came after a whirlwind morning for the president, who in a 3 AM tweet tore into the media for allegedly “blaming” him for the attempted attacks.

He later suggested that the bombs were designed to impede Republicans on their way to the polls in the upcoming midterm elections.

The president’s critics have noted that he has not condemned these acts of violence. The president has, to name just a few examples, called for violence against members of the press, has labeled the press “the enemy of the people,” and has repeatedly led chants at his rallies to “lock up” Hillary Clinton.

The president did issue a statement after the Time Warner Center––where CNN’s headquarters are located––was evacuated on Wednesday. He pledged to “bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice.” But his comments rang hollow for many who pointed out that it was just last week that the president praised Montana Representative Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter.

The president declined to cancel an appearance at a rally in Wisconsin this week. During that rally, he criticized the media as expected.

“The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories,” he said, hours after the evacuation of the Time Warner Center. The media “can’t take a joke,” he added.