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Hillary Clinton called on voters to elect candidates who will “bring our country together” shortly after the U.S. Secret Service intercepted a pipe bomb that was addressed to her home in Chappaqua, New York, on Wednesday.
Speaking at a campaign event in Miami two weeks ahead of the midterm elections, the former Secretary of State addressed the divisive political climate while updating Americans that the Clinton family was fine after the threat earlier that morning. Clinton was headlining the fundraising reception for Donna Shalala, who is running for Congress in South Florida, when the package was intercepted; her husband was at the family’s residence.
“Before I begin, I want to say a few words about the news this morning of suspicious packages being sent to various public figures and a news organization,” she began, referencing the devices that were sent to the Clinton family home, along with others sent to the home of former President Barack Obama and New York offices of CNN and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Many of you and others across our country have asked after me and my family and I’m very grateful for that,” she said. “We are fine, thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home. Every day we are grateful for their service and commitment and obviously, never more than today.”
Clinton then asked: “But it is a troubling time, isn’t it?”
“It’s a time of deep divisions and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together,” she continued. “We also have to elect candidates who will try to do the same. Who will set goals that will lift up every single Floridian and American.”
On Wednesday, crude pipe bombs targeting Clinton, Obama and CNN and were intercepted in what appeared to be attacks aimed at prominent Democrats, as well as the cable news network commonly criticized by political conservatives and President Donald Trump.
Gov. Cuomo said his Manhattan office received a similar package, and that the devices appeared to be a “pattern” during a press conference. Democratic congresswomen Deborah Wasserman Schultz and Maxine Waters were also sent packages, and one intended for former attorney general Eric Holder was sent to the wrong address.
The suspicious packages sent to the Clinton and Obama family homes were thought to be linked to the explosive device that was found near the home of Democratic Party funder George Soros on Monday. CNN’s Time Warner Center office was evacuated early Wednesday in response to the discovery of the live explosive device.
During the press conference held in New York City, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed the divisive climate Clinton addressed in her speech. Saying the intent of the attacks was to “terrorize,” de Blasio called upon elected officials to condemn the attempt to undermine the free press through acts of violence.
“This is a very painful time in our nation. It is a time when people are feeling lot of hatred in the air. And incidents like this exacerbate that pain and exacerbate that fear. We cannot let the acts of a very few change who we are,” he said, adding, “Don’t encourage violence, don’t encourage hatred, don’t encourage attacks on media. … And that has to start at the top.”
In his memo to staff letting CNN employees know the newsroom was safe to return at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, network president Jeff Zucker took aim at Trump and his White House over their rhetoric against the media. “There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media,” the exec said in a statement. “The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
The packages are being inspected and a major federal investigation is underway, Trump announced on Wednesday during a public address. He also offered what he called a “bipartisan” statement on the investigation: “During these times we have to unify, we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”
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