U.S. President Donald Trump for months has aimed sharp political attacks at the eight Democrats and news network CNN who were mailed suspected explosives this week, all of whom have been among his fiercest critics.
Trump defeated former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. But as he campaigns for Republican candidates in next month's nationwide congressional elections, he still demonizes her as corrupt.
"I mean, look at what she's getting away with," Trump told one rally. "But let's see if she gets away with it. Let's see."
"Lock her up! Lock her up!" his supporters erupted in response, just as they did two years ago as Trump campaigned for the White House.
For her part, Clinton wrote recently, "Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. There are no tanks in the streets. The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts — for now — by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back. There’s not a moment to lose."
The U.S. Secret Service said it intercepted possible explosive devices sent to Clinton, former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible 2020 opponent of Trump when he seeks another four-year term.
In addition, law enforcement authorities said a possible incendiary device was mailed to Obama's CIA director, John Brennan, at the New York office of CNN, the television cable news network where he has often lobbed acerbic attacks on Trump's presidency.
Three months ago, Brennan said Trump's performance at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin "was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin."
Soon after, Trump revoked Brennan's national security pass.
CNN anchors routinely say that Trump lies or exaggerates about his presidency. One, Don Lemon, called the president a racist.
Trump recently said on Twitter: "Facebook has just stated that they are setting up a system to 'purge' themselves of Fake News. Does that mean CNN will finally be put out of business?"
Facebook has just stated that they are setting up a system to “purge” themselves of Fake News. Does that mean CNN will finally be put out of business?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2018
Obama, in the nearly two years since leaving the White House, has often shied from direct attacks on Trump. But recently, he assailed Trump as a “threat to our democracy” and said he was engaging in the “politics of fear and resentment.” Obama accused Trump of needlessly befriending Russia, turning a blind eye to provocations by white supremacists and dividing Americans.
Trump, who often attacks his predecessor, dismissed Obama's critique, saying, “I’m sorry. I watched it, but I fell asleep. I found he’s very good, very good for sleeping.”
On Twitter, Trump describes his political opponents as a "Radical Democrat Mob" that is "too dangerous to govern."
Biden and Trump, both in their 70s, have traded schoolyard taunts, with Biden saying he'd like to "beat the hell" out of Trump over his incendiary comments in years past about women. Trump said the former vice president would “go down fast and hard, crying all the way” if they fought fist to fist.
Other recipients of the suspected explosive devices have also traded barbs with the president.
Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California has repeatedly called for Trump's impeachment. He calls her an "extraordinarily low IQ person."
Actor Robert De Niro unleashed a barrage a profanities aimed at Trump at a Broadway awards show in June. Trump responded in kind, calling him "a very Low IQ individual," who "has received to (sic) many shots to the head by real boxers in movies. I watched him last night and truly believe he may be 'punch-drunk.'"
Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, said he will never call Trump president, referring instead to him as the "present occupant" of the White House. Trump has said that Holder's performance as the country's top law enforcement official was as bad as Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, whom he regularly assails as incompetent.
Billionaire political donor George Soros has contributed millions of dollars to Democratic candidates. Trump, without evidence, has accused him of paying for protesters against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his recent confirmation hearings, calling them "elevator screamers."
During his campaign and 21-month presidency, Trump has applauded the behavior of Congressman Greg Gianforte, a Montana Republican convicted last year of body-slamming a reporter, condoned neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in a woman's death, and said he would pay the legal bills of a Trump supporter who attacked a protester at one of his rallies.
After news surfaced of the suspected explosive devices being sent to his political opponents, Trump said, "We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”
At a political rally in Wisconsin, Trump omitted his usual rhetorical blasts at Democrats, saying at one point he was "trying to be nice."
On Thursday, he blamed one of his favorite targets, the mainstream news media, for the turmoil.
"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!"
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