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.
Trump: "The bottom line is that Americans must unify and we must show the world that we are united together in peac… https://t.co/8QTSm3jRSp— CNN Politics (@CNN Politics)1540572288.0
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.
Just moments after Trump calls for unity at a WH event, he references "globalists," prompting several audience memb… https://t.co/GOnv9lFmgk— Robert Maguire (@Robert Maguire)1540574543.0
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:
Trump congratulates the young black conservatives for helping "make America great again." They wave their red hats… https://t.co/Q43wWJ8jFZ— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1540571917.0
Shortly after announcing the arrest, Trump calls Turning Point USA's Candace Owens "incredible." She suggested that… https://t.co/bqvjxYuALb— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1540572010.0
Trump complains of "fake polls," with no evidence. He calls Kanye West "a little different" but a "smart guy." He n… https://t.co/n0gOGtSbSk— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1540572183.0
Trump criticizes the media, then laughs approvingly at someone who shouted "fake news," then says "I won't use exam… https://t.co/b2H3Hunct5— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1540572465.0
Trump says he is determined to make it acceptable again to call people "beautiful" and "handsome" in public. "We ha… https://t.co/ppCTKGJSZ3— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1540572514.0
Trump complains about people saying "America First" is racist (it was used by antisemites during World War II, amon… https://t.co/unaDC1gsni— Daniel Dale (@Daniel Dale)1540572923.0
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.
WATCH: Social media video shows mail bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc attending pro-Trump rally in Oct. 2016… https://t.co/oaDcOBsqWo— CBS News (@CBS News)1540572496.0
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.
Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and… https://t.co/a2oBFsdK3x— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1540538079.0
He later suggested that the bombs were designed to impede Republicans on their way to the polls in the upcoming midterm elections.
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum… https://t.co/hBykht1zhk— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1540563579.0
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.
Trump today: “We have to unify” and send a clear message that “acts or threats of political violence have no place… https://t.co/ilt0p75bqz— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin)1540406571.0
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.