By Sunya Hassan || News Editor
Cesar Sayoc, the man who authorities believe to be person behind the pipe bomb packages, was arrested in south Florida on Friday, October 26.
Just two weeks before midterm elections, a series of suspicious and potentially explosive packages addressed to high-ranking democrats and Trump critics were intercepted. There were fourteen packages in total, sent to prominent political figures and activists such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Robert De Niro. Authorities managed to intercept all the packages before they reached their intended target or detonated.
The prime suspect, Cesar Sayoc, 56, made his first court appearance on Monday, October 29 and has been charged with five federal crimes, which could mean up to 50 years in prison if convicted. Sayoc has had some priors, having been arrested at least nine times on accusations such as grand theft, battery, drug possession, and fraud. Though only fourteen packages had been sent, law enforcement officials stated that Sayoc had a list of over 100 people of whom he intended to send packages to. After being arrested, Sayoc claimed that the pipe bombs were harmless, as he did not want to hurt anyone. However, federal authorities disagree, saying that the bombs were very real and a danger to their recipients.
Sayoc’s political views are clear given his track record on social media, posting provocative photos and memes attacking liberals. He’s attended several Trump rallies in the past, as shown through videos he’s posted on Twitter and Facebook. On September 20, tweeted threats against former Vice President Joe Biden and Eric Holder, both of whom were targeted and sent explosive packages. The tweet reads, “Go Trump Trump Trump hey Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. And Eric Himpton Holder Sr. Stick your BS all crap you talk where sun doesn’t shine . We will meet your threats right to your face soon. Not option we will see you soon. Hug loved ones real close we aren’t ones.” Authorities also found in his possession photos of the home of some of the other people who had been targeted.
As the first few pipe bomb packages were being intercepted and reported, President Donald Trump’s comments on the matter revolved around the country needing to unite to be an example of peace and harmony for the rest of the world. However, shortly after Cesar Sayoc had been arrested in suspicion of being the culprit, Trump’s tone regarding the incident became much more aggressive. He tweeted, “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!” While Democrats have called Trump out for pointing fingers at anyone but himself, many Republicans have echoed the president’s assertion that the media is to blame for the attacks. Some prominent figures on the right have even gone so far as to claim that the attacks were a ‘false flag’ planted by the left in order to sway the outcome of the November 6 elections. The president has seemingly given some credence to these conspiracy theories as he tweeted earlier in the week, “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!”
Sophomore Sunya Hassan is the News Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org