Mail bombs in the US: Who's to blame?

With just two weeks to go before the midterm elections in the US a series of mail bomb attacks has been foiled. The packages were sent to Trump opponents including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the billionaire George Soros and actor Robert De Niro. Commentators say the failed attack exposes a climate of hate for which more than one side is responsible.

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El Mundo (ES) /

Trump creating breeding ground for violence

For El Mundo Trump is also to blame for the escalating violence:

“The unbearable climate of polarisation in the US under Trump is giving way to a worrying trivialisation of violence. And the worst aspect here is that the president himself is contributing to this. After letter bombs were sent to Democratic politicians, including Obama, and famous persons like De Niro and Soros, he blamed the media, saying that their false reports were inciting anger. And even if a direct connection between the bombs and Trump's diatribes against his critics can't be established, he should reflect on what kind of breeding ground he is creating when he talks of his opponents as if they were enemies in a war.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Words are actions

The Guardian is even more candid:

“Both in his candidacy and presidency Trump has made direct appeals to political violence. He has advocated protesters be beaten up at his rallies; tweeted a simulation of himself pummelling the news network CNN, as though in a wrestling match; encouraged police to rough up suspects; and ... lauded a politician for body-slamming the Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs. ... When Trump paints a world of cheating adversaries and lying journalists, and those accusations are not even remotely true, he lays the groundwork for attacks such as the ones we saw earlier in the week. ... Words are actions and actions have consequences.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

So far there are no suspects

Der Tagesspiegel sees the rhetoric of Trump's opponents becoming increasingly radical:

“Via remote diagnosis psychiatrists have concluded that the president suffers from pathological narcissism. Others speculate that he may be suffering from dementia. Trump's supporters are being painted as steerable, weak-willed, unidimensional, frustrated, uneducated and angry losers. This is no less hurtful - and nor is it intended to be. Those who - in this heated atmosphere - overstep the mark in reaction to the situation risk a lot. So far there are no suspects or perpetrators or confessions. Sometimes it takes great patience to learn the right lessons from an incident.”

Izvestia (RU) /

The Democrats have poisoned the climate too

Americanist Yury Rogulyov pins the blame for the rift in US society on the Democrats. In Izvestia he writes:

“It is the Democrats who have been campaigning against the president, his team and the Republicans for months. They accuse their opponents of all kinds of crimes and are trying to prove Trump's so-called conspiracy with Russia. ... It's easy now to blame the Democrats of getting society into this state - and say that they are getting these 'gifts' in response. It was typical of CNN to indirectly blame Trump for everything since he is leading an aggressive campaign against the media. This is precisely the purpose of a provocation: everyone starts hurling accusations at each other.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Citizens withdrawing into their safe havens

Peter Van Aelst, a professor of political communication, also describes the polarised state of US society in De Standaard:

“It would be wrong to pin all the blame for the situation getting out of control on Trump. Political polarisation has intensified markedly in the US and in recent decades has also become increasingly manifest among normal citizens. ... People with different political views are avoiding each other more and more and withdrawing into their own safe havens with those who share their convictions. The aversion against the opposite camp is growing, not just online and in the news, but also in daily life.”