Published 1:03 PM EDT Oct 26, 2018
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump praised law enforcement officials for apprehending a suspect he said is believed to have been involved with the mailing of bomb-like packages to prominent Democrats.
"I am pleased to inform you that law enforcement has apprehended the suspect and taken him into custody," Trump said in the East Room. "We must never allow political violence to take root in America."
The president said he had been briefed by the Justice Department about the effort earlier Friday morning, and he praised the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies for the arrest.
"It’s a needle in a haystack – how do you do this so quickly?" Trump said to a group of young African-American conservatives who were visited the White House for a previously scheduled event.
"America must unify and we must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony," Trump said.
Trump's remarks represented a different tone from a tweet he posted earlier on Friday in which he appeared to throw his weight behind a conspiracy theory about the bomb-like devices, suggesting without evidence that the packages were designed to suppress Republican turnout.
“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows,” Trump posted on Twitter. “News not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!”
The tweet appeared to give credence to the “false flag” conspiracy theory that the suspicious packages mailed to prominent Democrats and CNN were actually an effort to portray conservatives as violent. Trump offered no evidence to support the claim.
The total number of suspicious explosive devices reached 12 Friday after two more packages were recovered, one in Florida addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and the other in New York addressed to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc on Friday morning in Florida for allegedly sending packages to top Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden.