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 FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing 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 ObamaFormer White House physician Ronny Jackson to run for Congress Obama issues statement praising Paul Volcker Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat 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 ScaliseTrump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Republicans disavow GOP candidate who said 'we should hang' Omar Nunes accuses Democrats of promoting 'conspiracy theories' 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 TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence 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.