The legacy news magazine Newsweek, which now has only an online presence, posted a story Wednesday afternoon suggesting the Republican candidate for governor in Florida was to blame for the bomb threats targeting President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic figures, because he used the common metaphor “the kiss of death” in an email dispatch the day before.
Newsweek’s headline was: “Ron DeSantis campaign said he wanted Hillary Clinton’s Florida visit to be ‘kiss of death’ day before bomb threat.”
The magazine acknowledge there are “no allegations that the DeSantis email and the suspicious packages are in any way connected.”
But in the next sentence Newsweek said: “The language used coincides with concerns expressed by critics that certain rhetoric and conspiracy theories levied by the president and other conservatives could promote acts of violence.”
Law enforcement authorities said Wednesday morning they believe the “potential explosive devices” sent to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, billionaire philanthropist George Soros and CNN in New York City are linked.
The U.S. Secret Service intercepted a device Tuesday sent to Clinton’s Chappaqua, New York, home and another to Obama in Washington, D.C. In Manhattan, CNN evacuated employees at the Time Warner Center Wednesday morning as police investigated a suspicious package sent to the building.
A former staffer for Hillary Clinton blamed Trump for inciting the “hate and violence” behind the attack.
“Irrespective of what this person’s political leanings or motivations are, we are living in an atmosphere where hate and violence have been not only incited but condoned by Donald Trump,” Philippe Reines, former deputy assistant secretary of state, said in an MSNBC interview.
Trump also was the target of blame in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday by Alexander Soros, son of the activist billionaire.
The younger Soros, who serves as deputy chairman of his father’s Open Society Foundation, said “vitriol” that once was on the fringe was mainstreamed by Trump in 2016.
“While the responsibility lies with the individual or individuals who sent these lethal devices to my family home and Mr. Obama’s and Ms. Clinton’s offices, I cannot see it divorced from the new normal of political demonization that plagues us today,” he wrote.
DeSantis: Bombs ‘disturbing and unacceptable’
Newsweek’s report quoted the DeSantis email sent Tuesday to supporters.
“I want to make sure that Andrew Gillum knows that inviting his failed presidential candidate is the WORST mistake of his campaign,” the DeSantis email said, referring to Democratic opponent and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.
“I want Hillary Clinton’s visit to be a kiss of death,” the message continued in bold lettering.
Newsweek said the DeSantis campaign did not respond to its request for comment about its choice to use the words “kiss of death.”
The magazine reported, however, that on Twitter, DeSantis called the acts of terror “disturbing and unacceptable.”
“We are grateful to law enforcement and all first responders who run toward the danger, to keep us all safe,” DeSantis said.
‘Conspicuously obvious’ hoax?
Meanwhile, as the speculation regarding who was to blame grew Wednesday, investigative reporter Paul Sperry tweeted that the bombs had the look of a set-up designed to harm Republicans politically.
“6 bombs sent to Democrats. 0 go off. All crudely made pipe bombs and conspicuously obvious explosives, and all easily screened and discovered,” he wrote. “Stunt seems designed for maximum political/media optics, not maximum damage.”
Sperry followed up tweeting that the bombs “might as well have had “ACME” stamped on them,” referring to amateurish explosives in the iconic “Roadrunner” cartoon.
“Totally telegraphed by packaging (excessive postage, taping), amateur packing of gun powder (bad end caps, etc),” he wrote.
Actor James Woods, a frequent commentator on politics via Twitter, thought it was more likely that someone on the left would be motivated to carry out such an act.
“Who gives a rat’s a** about the #Clintons enough to do this?” he wrote. “Obvious political stunt…”