For Trump, Pipe Bombs Sent to Opponents Is Ploy to Halt GOP ‘Momentum’ Before Midterms

President dismisses mailed munitions as “‘Bomb stuff”

With an umbrella handle in front of his face, President Donald Trump talks to reporters before leaving the White House on Oct. 15. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

For President Donald Trump, the pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats this week appear to only be about spoiling a Republican Party on cruise control.  That was the president’s message on Friday, when he said media outlets are covering a string of mail bombs sent to leading Democrats and CNN to distract voters from an election cycle he believes favor Republicans.

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics,” he said in a tweet. 

By putting the word “bomb” in quotation marks, the president appeared to question whether the devices, which federal experts say were not capable of exploding, meet the definition of a bomb.

As Election Day has neared, the forecast for the midterms has tightened, with Democrats still favored to win a majority in the House, with the number of projected pickups fluctuating and a Senate dynamic continuing to show multiple GOP routes to holding the majority in that chamber.

The Trump midterm campaign message has focused largely on firing up his base to drive up conservative voter turnout in key states and districts with competitive House and Senate races. He used the attempted bombings to continue that strategy.

“Very unfortunate, what is going on,” he said of the bomb drama and nationwide manhunt. “Republicans, go out and vote!”

Packages, all mailed in manila envelopes with Forever stamps, were sent to Democratic mega-donor George Soros, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, actor Robert DeNiro, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Rep. Maxine Waters of California. CNN’s New York offices were evacuated Tuesday when that outlet got a mail bomb addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan.

The count jumped again on Friday, with suspicious packages addressed to Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

All have been sharply criticized by the president. But his top aides reject that he has any responsibility and say his often bleak and derisive rhetoric has nothing to do with the violent background developing.

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