A somber President Trump made a plea for Americans to “bridge our divides” Wednesday night, culminating a day in which several suspected pipe bombs were mailed to his critics and Democratic opponents.
Speaking at an outdoor campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin, Mr. Trump took on a solemn tone as he called for an end to “the language of moral condemnation” and urged voters to “settle our disagreements … peacefully at the ballot box.”
“No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence, as a method of political intimidation, coercion or control,” Mr. Trump said. “Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and firmly prosecuted. We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony. We can do it. It’ll happen.”
The president also called on the media to lower the temperature in public discourse.
“As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together, the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories,” Mr. Trump said. “They’ve got to stop. Bring people together.”
At that point, CNN host Anderson Cooper cut into the speech to tell viewers that Mr. Trump was “speaking quite hypocritically.”
It was the president’s first campaign rally since federal authorities launched an investigation into suspected pipe bombs that were mailed this week to Bill and Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former CIA Director John Brennan, the offices of CNN and others who have clashed with Mr. Trump politically.
“The federal government is conducting an aggressive investigation and we will find those responsible, and we will bring them to justice, hopefully very quickly,” Mr. Trump said. “Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy itself.”
Himself the target of harsh personal criticism and endless mockery from the left, Mr. Trump said “there is much we can do to bring our nation together.”
“For example, those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective,” he said. “The language of moral condemnation and destructive routine, these are arguments and disagreements that have to stop.”
Seemingly referring to criticism of him as an autocrat, Mr. Trump said, “No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains, which is done often, it’s done all the time. It’s got to stop.”
He also pleaded, “We should not mob people in public spaces or destroy public property.”
“There is one way to settle our disagreements, it’s called peacefully at the ballot box. That’s what we want,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re just 13 days away from a very, very important election. It’s an election is of monumental importance. There are dramatic differences between our two political parties. It is essential for democracy to draw sharp contrasts between the two different platforms put before the American people. We need more, not less debate, about policy issues in our country.”
Mr. Trump often fires up campaign crowds with partisan attacks on Democrats, for example, encouraging chants of “lock her up” in reference to Mrs. Clinton, ridiculing Rep. Maxine Waters of California as having “an extremely low IQ” and blistering the media to the delight of his supporters.
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