President Trump complained, once again, on Thursday that the recent mail bomb scare and Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting had “stopped a tremendous momentum” for Republicans ahead of next week’s midterms.
Speaking to an energized crowd in an airplane hangar decorated with American flags in Columbia, Mo., the president took time at the end of his speech to brag about the “tremendous numbers” of Republicans going to vote. Yet, he said that the weeks leading up to the “very important election” haven’t exactly gone smoothly.
“Now, we did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days nobody talked about the elections,” Trump said. “It stopped a tremendous momentum.”
The “two maniacs” Trump referred to, never explicitly naming them, are Cesar Sayoc and Robert Bowers.
Sayoc, a 56-year-old Florida man, has been formally charged in connection with sending 13 packages containing pipe bombs to prominent critics of Trump, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and CNN. Federal prosecutors allege Sayoc, a passionate Trump supporter, committed “a domestic terror attack,” and believe he may also be responsible for two more unaccounted packages.
Bowers pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the dozens of charges he faces for killing 11 people at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, a mass shooting considered to be the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history. The 46-year-old was charged in a 44-count indictment accusing him of federal hate crimes, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, The Post reported.
Just moments after Trump lamented about the GOP’s loss of momentum on Thursday, he added, “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. But, it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum.”
On social media, Trump was swiftly excoriated.
Jon Favreau, Obama’s former chief speechwriter, called the statement “revolting.” In another tweet, Favreau, co-host of the progressive political podcast “Pod Save America,” noted that had any past presidents “talked openly about how national tragedies affected their political standing less than a week after the attack ... It would be a controversy of epic proportions.”