- Former CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday evening made his first remarks following a wave of bomb scares that included one addressed to him.
- Brennan condemned President Donald Trump’s often inflammatory rhetoric toward his Democratic opponents and the media, calling the president’s behaviour “un-American.”
- Though Trump condemned political violence on Wednesday, on Thursday he appeared to blame the media for heightened US political tension.
Former CIA Director John Brennan spoke out Wednesday evening, hours after a pipe bomb addressed to him arrived at CNN’s New York City office amid a wave of similar incidents targeting top Democrats across the US.
Brennan told an audience in Austin, Texas, that President Donald Trump’s constant invectives against the news media and Trump’s political opponents might have “emboldened individuals to take matters into their own hands.”
“What he said today is what the president should be doing,” Brennan said, adding that Trump should also “follow up on those words with actions and with his future comments.” He continued: “A lot of this rhetoric really is counterproductive. It is un-American. It is what a president should not be doing.”
The pipe bombs this week were sent to prominent Democrats and frequent targets of right-wing criticism, including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the billionaire Democratic donor George Soros, Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Maxine Waters, and former Attorney General Eric Holder.
But Brennan’s hope that the incidents might mark a “turning point” in Trump’s rhetoric may have been quickly dashed Thursday, when Trump appeared to blame the fraught political climate on the news media.
“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,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
Brennan tweeted his own response, calling Trump’s behaviour “disgraceful.”
“Stop blaming others,” he said. “Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act….try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence.”
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