President Trump endorsed a crowd’s chant of “CNN sucks” Friday after calling for civility in the wake of mail bombs being sent to his political enemies.
“And they do indeed, they have a major role to play as far as tone and as far as everything,” Trump said, as the Charlotte, N.C., crowd chanted “CNN sucks!”
That chant was one of the pro-Trump and anti-Democrat political messages plastered on the van belonging to bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc, who was arrested in Florida earlier in the day.
Trump began the campaign rally for Republican candidates by applauding the arrest and vowing that “these terrorist actions must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
He proceeded to blame the media for what he described as a lack of civil discourse, countering his critics’ argument that Trump’s harsh rhetoric may have contributed to Sayoc’s decision to send mail bombs to at least a dozen prominent Trump opponents.
“In recent days, we’ve had a broader conversation about the tone and civility of our national dialogue. Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction. We must unify as a nation in peace, love, and harmony,” said Trump. “The media has a major role to play whether they want to or not."
Trump said it was unfair for people to accuse him of being responsible for Sayoc's actions, noting that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was not widely blamed when a supporter shot congressional Republicans at a baseball practice last year.
“We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party. And yet, when a Bernie Sanders supporter tried to murder congressional Republicans and severely wounded a great man named Steve Scalise and others, we did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain because that would have been wrong," Trump said.
“Nor do we blame the Democrat Party every time radical leftists seize and destroy public property and unleash violence and mayhem," he said. "And yet, the media has tried to attack the incredible Americans who support our movement to give power back to the people."