The US mail bomb scare has widened as police seized three more suspicious packages — two addressed to former vice president Joe Biden and one to actor Robert De Niro. Officers said the items were similar to crude pipe bombs sent to former president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and CNN.
None of the devices exploded and no one was injured but the packages – sent to prominent Democrats critical of President Donald Trump – heightened nationwide tensions two weeks before congressional mid-term elections.
As everyone condemned the unknown sender and Mr Trump decried political violence, blame flew for the corrosive nature of America’s political debate.
“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,” Mr Trump said in a morning tweet. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
Former CIA director John Brennan, the target of one package sent to CNN where he has been a contributor, fired back.
“Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror,” Mr Brennan tweeted. “Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act….try to act Presidential.”
Police said the package recovered in Manhattan addressed to De Niro, who insulted Mr Trump at this year’s Tony Awards, was similar to other pipe bombs recovered this week. De Niro also apologised to Canadians for the “idiotic behaviour of my president”.
Mr Biden has also criticised Mr Trump, as recently as last week, saying he may not “know what he’s doing” and coddles dictators. A law enforcement official said the packages addressed to Mr Biden were intercepted at Delaware mail facilities in New Castle and Wilmington and were similar to the others.
Recovery of the packages to Mr Biden and De Niro came after others were received by prominent Democrats and CNN.