HBO host Bill Maher leveled criticism at President Trump’s response to Cesar Sayoc, who is suspected of sending pipe bombs to high-profile Democrats in what Maher described as "a domestic terrorist attack."
“I think what I saw this week was the president of the United States using a domestic terrorist attack to threaten the American media,” Maher said during a panel discussion on "Real Time With Bill Maher" on Friday, pointing to Trump’s Thursday tweet decrying the “inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media” that he dubs “Fake News.”
A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018
“That sounds to me like he’s not condemning the bombing,” Maher said to his panel of guests comprising of Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, Betsy Woodruff, who covers politics for The Daily Beast, and conservative author Max Boot. “It sounds to me like he’s partnering with him.”
Florida resident Sayoc, 56, was arrested Friday and is facing five federal charges in connection with the bombs mailed to more than a dozen Democratic political figures.
Describing Sayoc as an “angry asshole in a red hat,” Maher had asked in his opening monologue if it was okay to refer to him as a “deplorable,” referring to Hillary Clinton’s infamous comment on Trump’s supporter base, “or would that hurt Republicans’ feelings?”
“Trump is mad at the bombing too,” Maher went on to add “not because of the bombing, because it hurt his momentum.”
Hours after Sayoc's arrest on Friday, Trump said at a North Carolina rally that the media has "a major role to play whether they want to or not” in the nation's "politics of personal destruction." He also appeared to endorse a "CNN sucks" chant from the crowd after calling for civility.
Maher said that he believes Trump’s rhetoric toward the media will never get better.“It all comes from one trait of narcissism,” Maher explained “This is a disease that we’re not going to cure, and as long as he has it, it’s not going to get better because the media’s job is to criticize him, especially now more than ever.”
“Having worked with him and seen him in action, I see it a little bit differently,” Scaramucci said. “I think that he’s had these ingrained impulses to counter-punch … and so every aggression, micro- or macro- aggression, he’s made a determination over 45 years to hit five times harder, and it’s worked for him.”
“But it’s not working for us,” Maher fired back. “It’s worked for him, it’s not working for America.”