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CNN president Jeff Zucker, who has long sparred with President Donald Trump throughout their decades of knowing each other, lashed out at him in a statement on Wednesday, hours after his network’s New York office was forced to evacuate due to a bomb threat.
“There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media,” Zucker said. “The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
The president has been criticized for his slow response to the bomb threat on Wednesday, initially responding only by echoing Vice President Mike Pence’s tweet condemning it.
On Wednesday afternoon, Trump spoke directly at a White House event, pledging to take action. “The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice,” he said. “We will spare no resources or expense in this effort. In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together, and send one clear, strong unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”
In addition to Pence, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ivanka Trump issued statements on Twitter condemning the threats.
Zucker has provided updates to CNN employees throughout the day, informing them at 12:30 p.m. PT that it was safe to return to their Time Warner Center office. “I so appreciate your patience, as I know what a long day this has been for all of you,” he said.