Flake condemns bomb threats: We have to 'tone down the rhetoric'

Flake condemns bomb threats: We have to 'tone down the rhetoric'
© Greg Nash

Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE (R) cautioned Americans to "tone down" political rhetoric that could encourage violence on Wednesday after explosives were mailed to former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaKrystal Ball tears into 'Never Trump' Republicans Sanders campaign announces it contacted over 1 million Iowa voters Iowa Steak Fry to draw record crowds for Democrats MORE, the Clinton family, other Democratic politicians and CNN.

Flake told reporters on Wednesday that both sides bear responsibility for heated political rhetoric,  which he linked to the suspicious packages.

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"Well obviously, it's horrible," Flake said. "Any time anybody is threatened like this, it's not good.

"There's been a lot of this going around lately," he added. "But we need to tone down the rhetoric. Both sides. We gotta see people as opponents, not enemies."

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Flake, denounced the attempted bombings.

"These attempted attacks that have been made are beyond criminal, they are acts of pure terror. Violence and terror have no place in our politics or anywhere else in our society," said House Majority Whip Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran On The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes MORE (R-La.), who was shot last year by a gunman at a practice for the congressional baseball game.

"Those responsible for these evil acts of terror must be hunted down and brought to justice, and I have great confidence that our law enforcement officers will succeed in that mission," he added. "As a nation, we must agree that this is a dangerous path and it cannot become the new normal."

Wednesday's reports of explosive devices and suspicious packages came a day after an explosive was found outside the home of George Soros, a liberal billionaire.

The White House denounced the attempted attacks in a statement Wednesday from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which was retweeted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE.

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures. These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," she said.