On Twitter this morning, as Americans learned about two additional packages containing explosive devices, Donald Trump complained via Twitter about “bomb stuff” interfering with Republicans’ election strategy.
Soon after, as a suspect in the case was taken into custody, the president addressed the Young Black Leadership Summit, a project of a far-right group called Turning Point USA. The timing was less than ideal: Turning Point USA is led by an activist named Candace Owens – who just this week dismissed the packages as an election scheme hatched by “leftists.”
Trump today called Owens “incredible,” which I suppose is true, in a rather literal sense.
As part of the same remarks, the president initially tried to say the right things, reading from his teleprompter that Americans “must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony.” And soon after, Trump suggested he didn’t mean a word of it:
“Every citizen benefits when we stop foreign countries from cheating our workers, that’s what they’ve been doing, you know? They’re called globalists, they like – they like the globe. I like the globe, too. I like the globe, too, but we have to take care of our people. We have to.”
When some in the audience shouted, “George Soros” and, “Lock ‘em up,” the president chuckled briefly and repeated the “lock ‘em up” line.
Also as part of the remarks, Trump took aim at Democrats about 20 times, including arguing, “For decades, policies advanced by Democrats have eliminated opportunity and wiped out good paying jobs and even great paying jobs for the black community, you know that.”
He added, “Democrat policies have led to unsafe communities, failing schools, over-incarceration…. Where the Democrat Party has failed, Republicans have delivered.”
So to recap, 10 current and former Democratic officials were targeted with mail bombs. Against this backdrop, the sitting president, just over the last few hours:
1. Dismissed the story as “bomb stuff.”
2. Welcomed a group to the White House led by a far-right activist who argued that “leftists” were responsible for the mailings.
3. Delivered remarks in which he condemned Democrats and “globalists.”
Today seemed like a good day for the president to lower the temperature. Trump didn’t want to.