Trump on mail bomb and Pittsburgh shooting suspects: 'Two maniacs' halted GOP 'momentum'

President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE on Thursday described the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect and the man accused of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats as a pair of "maniacs" whose actions halted Republican momentum ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections.

"We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days nobody talked about the elections," Trump aid at a Missouri campaign rally. "It stopped a tremendous momentum."


"More importantly, we have to take care of our people, and we don't care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country," he quickly added. ”But it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum, and now the momentum is picking up."

The president had previously lamented that the mailed bombs had stolen headlines away from the GOP so close to the midterms.

"Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this 'Bomb' stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows — news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!" he tweeted last week.

The president's use of scare quotes around the word "bomb" appeared to reflect his skepticism about the story, which had dominated cable news for days. 

Shortly after Trump’s tweet last Friday, the Justice Department announced that one person, Cesar Sayoc Jr., had been arrested in connection with the plot. 

Trump also has gone after the man accused of killing 11 people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, saying the shooter was a “wacko” who should get the death penalty.

The president was campaigning Thursday at a rally for Republican Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley, who is in a tight race against vulnerable incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Memo: Punish Trump or risk a repeat, warn Democrats GOP senators criticized for appearing to pay half-hearted attention to trial Hawley watches trial from visitor's gallery MORE (D).

An October poll showed Hawley, the state's attorney general, was just 1 percentage point ahead of McCaskill, well within the poll’s margin of error. 

The president went after McCaskill in his speech, tying her to national Democratic leaders and calling on Republicans to "resist and demean anyone who criticizes their radical ideas."