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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Donald Trump returned to campaign mode Friday night, attacking Democrats and the media just hours after authorities arrested and charged Cesar Sayoc in connection to the series of bombs that were mailed to critics of President Trump and a media organization this week.
“Political violence must never ever be allowed in America, and I will do everything in my power to stop it,” Trump said as the rally began. “Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction.”
But he quickly went on offense over coverage of the arrest of Sayoc, an apparent Trump supporter who allegedly sent pipe bombs to a list of figures Trump has attacked by name on the campaign trail.
"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," said Trump. "The media has tried to attack the incredible Americans who support our movement to give power back to the people."
The “constant unfair coverage and unfair attacks only serve to drive people apart and undermine healthy debate,” he said, as some in the crowd chanted “CNN sucks.”
Two of the pipe bombs were sent to CNN’s New York office.
Trump’s mention of “Crooked Hillary,” in reference to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was also sent a pipe bomb this week, was met with “Lock her up!” chants from the crowd.
After a pause, Trump responded. “Oh boy, they are going to be reporting about you tonight,” he said.
The president also mentioned Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., another target of the pipe bombs, but stopped short of his usual ridicule. “I am going to be nice tonight, so I won’t say it. I want them to say, 'he was so nice tonight.'"
Trump plans to speak at another campaign rally Saturday night in Murphysboro, Ill.