President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE on Friday announced that federal authorities arrested a suspect in connection with a string of attempted bombings and pledged to bring those responsible to "swift and certain justice."
Speaking at the White House, Trump described the bomb scare as a series of "terrorizing acts" that are "despicable and have no place in our country."
But he also expressed a desire to move on from the story, which has generated negative headlines about his heated political rhetoric.
"We must never allow political violence to take root in America — cannot let it happen — and I am committed to doing everything in my power to stop it and to stop it now," Trump said.
Trump: "The bottom line is that Americans must unify and we must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony as fellow American citizens" https://t.co/bm0VJoPHPo pic.twitter.com/0TcTveDlVN— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 26, 2018
The president stepped on his own message just minutes after repeating his calls for unity by attacking Democrats, "fake polls" and other opponents.
During a riff on trade, Trump went after "globalists" he accused of hurting the U.S. economy. Several audience members shouted out "George Soros" and "lock 'em up."
Trump chuckled, pointed to the crowd and repeated the phrase "lock 'em up."
The first known suspicious package in the case was addressed to Soros, a billionaire investor who funds liberal causes and has long been a target on the right.
Trump also said that the bomb scare had overshadowed his proposal to reduce prescription drug prices.
"Now, our law enforcement has done such a good job that maybe it can start to disappear rapidly because we don't like those stories," he said.
The comments are a sign that Trump views the incident as a political obstacle to move past rather than a reckoning for the nation's toxic political atmosphere he has helped stoke.
In a tweet earlier Friday, the president lamented that the bomb scare halted Republican "momentum" heading into next month's midterm elections. He put the word bomb in scare quotes, an apparent nod to conspiracy theories about the suspicious packages voiced by some of his supporters.
Trump spoke hours after news broke that authorities apprehended a man in connection with the mail-bomb scare, which expanded on Friday to 12 suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats, celebrities and news organizations that have criticized the president.
Trump praised law enforcement for quickly arresting the suspect in the case, which includes packages sent to several states across the country.
"It's a needle in a haystack. How do you do this so quickly? They've done an incredible, incredible job and I want to congratulate them," he said.
Multiple news reports named the suspect as Cesar Sayoc Jr., of Aventura, Fla. The 56-year-old is reportedly a registered Republican with a long criminal record that includes theft, fraud and drug charges as well as accusations of threatening people with explosives.
Law enforcement officers were shown on television throwing a blue tarp over a white van with windows covered in political stickers and hauling it away on the back of a flatbed truck.
Photos believed to depict the van showed it had a sticker with a target over the face of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE, Trump's Democratic opponent in the 2016 election. The photo was taken before Friday morning, when law enforcement located and seized the van.
OMG. My husband just called and said "Remember that picture I texted you of that crazy Trump van that delivered lunch to my office? THAT WAS THE GUY!" This is the picture he sent me of the van parked at his office on November 1, 2017. #FloridaMan @FBI pic.twitter.com/18BimNzNhi— Lesley Abravanel (@lesleyabravanel) October 26, 2018
One of the packages was addressed to Clinton at her home in New York. Former President Obama, former Vice President Biden, former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderOregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up MORE, Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerLawmakers gear up for spending bill, infrastructure votes Booker: End of police reform negotiations a 'frustrating experience' Sunday shows - All eyes on spending votes MORE (D-N.J.) and actor Robert DeNiro were among those who were the intended recipients of the explosives.
CNN also received packages addressed to former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Still in the game: Will Durham's report throw a slow curveball at key political players? UFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly MORE and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperAfghanistan disaster puts intelligence under scrutiny Domestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? MORE, both of whom have been critical of Trump.