President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE on Wednesday night opened his rally in Wisconsin with a call for "peace and harmony" in the political arena following a series of bombs sent to prominent Democrats, but he appeared to blame the media and his opponents for the current political climate.
The president condemned the explosive devices addressed to former President Obama, Hillary and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBiden needs to be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Bill Clinton shares video update after release from hospital MORE, Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersAffordable housing is critical infrastructure — its funding doesn't show it Which proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? House Democrats scramble to save housing as Biden eyes cuts MORE (D-Calif.) and others, declaring that such attempted attacks are "an attack on our democracy itself."
"We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony," Trump said, without naming those who were targeted. "We can do it. We can do it. It’ll happen."
President Trump addresses the intercepted bombs mailed to public political officials: "Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself...We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony." https://t.co/4ib7Iy5Zzs pic.twitter.com/iVV1GuBOIw— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 25, 2018
In listing ways the country can ease political hostilities, the president did not refer to any of his own repeated attacks on Democrats and the media, instead appearing to blame both for the current state of affairs.
"Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective," he said. "The language of moral condemnation and destructive routines, these are arguments and disagreements that have to stop."
The president, on Wednesday, also urged citizens not to "mob people in public spaces," an apparent reference to calls from Waters and other liberal activists to confront Trump administration officials in protest of White House policies.
"There is one way to settle our disagreements. It’s called peacefully at the ballot box," Trump said. "That’s what we want."
"The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostilities and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories," Trump added.
Trump has regularly derided negative coverage as "fake news" and has labeled the press the "enemy of the people," and he suggested that coverage of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was "treasonous" because it was not positive.
The president's remarks came hours after authorities intercepted explosive devices addressed to Obama, the Clintons, CNN's New York City offices, Waters, former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderAll eyes on Garland after Bannon contempt vote Arkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats Oregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps MORE and billionaire Democratic donor George Soros.
None of the devices detonated before they were intercepted by law enforcement. Trump has explicitly criticized each of the individuals who were the focus of the attempted attacks throughout his presidency.
The president on Wednesday night sought to justify his attacks on Democrats, whom he has labeled an "angry mob," accused of "treasonous" behavior, and claimed without evidence are funding a caravan Central American migrants headed for the U.S. border.
“There are dramatic differences between our two political parties,” he said. “It is essential to democracy to draw a sharp contrast between the two different platforms put before the American people … we need more, not less, debate on policy issues in our country. But what we cannot do is let our matters of policy tear us apart as a country.”
Republicans and Democrats alike widely condemned Wednesday's attempted attacks and encouraged more civil discourse moving forward. However, both sides were quick to blame the other for escalating the political climate to such hostile levels.
Democratic leaders cited Trump's attacks of Democrats at campaign rallies and on Twitter, where he has labeled the Democratic Party an "angry mob" and derided news outlets as the "enemy of the people."
Republicans, meanwhile, pointed to comments from Democrats urging their supporters to confront politicians over Trump administration policies and protests in public spaces.
Trump was stumping for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in his reelection bid against state schools superintendent Tony Evers (D) and for Leah Vukmir (R), who is challenging Wisconsin Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinProviding affordable housing to recruit our next generation of volunteer firefighters Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Building back better by investing in workers and communities MORE (D).
Walker is battling Evers in a tight race, which RealClearPolitics considers a "toss-up." A RealClearPolitics average of polling gives Evers a 3.6 percentage point edge in the race.
Baldwin has a double-digit lead over Vukmir, according to a recent Marquette Law School survey of likely voters.
Updated on Oct. 25 at 7:26 a.m.