U.S. President Donald Trump said in a rally Friday night that the media has used the mail bomb scare which unfolded over this past week to score political points against him.
“We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party,” Trump said at a political rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. One crowd member yelled loudly in response, “CNN sucks.”
WATCH: Trump says pipe bombs were ‘terrorist actions’
The president spoke in North Carolina shortly after a suspect was arrested for allegedly putting 14 pipe bombs in manila envelopes and sending them to Trump’s most vocal critics, including former president Barack Obama, former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, CNN, Robert De Niro and others.
“As you know the suspect has been captured – great job – and is now in federal custody,” Trump said as crowds waved signs behind them. “These terrorist actions must be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law, we all know that.”
“In recent days we’ve had a broader conversation about the tone and civility of our national dialogue – everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction,” he continued. “The media has a major role to play, whether they want to or not.”
He referenced a shooting that took place last year at a GOP practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, during which Republican Congressman Steve Scalise was injured, saying that Republicans did not capitalize on the events for political gain.
“It would have been the wrong thing to do,” he told the audience.
Florida resident Cesar Sayoc, 56, was arrested Friday after over a dozen pipe bombs were sent to various public figures across the country. All of the packages were sent through the U.S. mail system. Trump has been vocal in condemning these actions and offering support to law enforcement for their role in detaining the suspect.
Since the packages were discovered, however, the aggressive rhetoric of the Republican party of late has been called into question.
Trump told reporters Friday afternoon that he was aware that the suspect was a supporter of his, but that he bore “no blame” for his actions. Furthermore, he said he would not be contacting Obama about his receipt of a package this week.
The first of these packages was discovered on Oct. 22. Sayoc is now in custody, though investigators are still searching for a motive and for any additional packages.