The president of CNN strongly criticized President Donald Trump on Wednesday for his anti-media rhetoric, just hours after the network discovered that a pipe bomb had been sent to its headquarters in New York.
"There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media," Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, said in a statement. "The President, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."
The pipe bomb, which was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, via CNN, was one of several sent to several prominent Democratic political figures, including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder and mega-donor George Soros.
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The targeting of prominent Democrats had led to speculation that the perpetrator may have been inspired by Trump's frequent attacks on Democrats and the media.
Zucker's strongly worded statement seemed to accept that possibility as fact. Earlier Tuesday, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines also suggested that the White House needed to ask itself "how much Donald Trump is responsible for the climate where things like this happen," a question echoed by many pundits across cable news and social media.
Trump has frequently criticized CNN and other media organizations as "the fake news," and even going so far as to label them "the enemy" of the American people — a characterization that often draws hearty applause and boos directed at the press at his rallies.
Matt Dornic, a CNN spokesperson, noted that less than two hours after CNN evacuated its headquarters on Tuesday, the Trump campaign sent an email attacking CNN and calling on people "to give the media another wake-up call."
At a White House event, Trump has condemned the pipe bombs as "despicable," and said that "acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America."
"In these times we have to unify, we have to come together," the president said before a bill-signing event, calling the mailings "abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans."
Trump did not mention the names of the political leaders targeted nor did he mention CNN.
AT&T, which recently acquired CNN through its purchase of Time Warner, has yet to issue a statement on today's incidents.