Pace Reacts to Mail Bombs Sent to Clinton Family and Other Top Democrats


Gage Skidmore

Hillary Clinton, President Obama and 12 others were sent a mail bomb last week in a shocking act of political violence.

Kwadar Ray, Managing Editor

Just four miles away from Pace, a package was sent to the Clinton estate in Chappaqua; it was a bomb. In what could have been one of the worst tragedies in U.S. history, the Clinton’s, former President Barack Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Robert De Niro and a host of other top democratic politicians/supporters were sent mail bombs to their home or offices. Some of the bombs were intercepted by Secret Service and others did not detonate, causing no casualties.

The alleged attacker who sent 14 bombs in total, Cesar Sayoc, was arrested this past Friday for the politically motivated attacks. Hailing from Florida, Sayoc is a staunch President Trump supporter. His social media accounts and the windows of his van were plastered with messages supporting the president, along with provocative photos attacking liberals. A Facebook video also showed him in a “Make America Great Again” hat at a Trump rally in 2016.

Sayoc’s lawyer Ronald Lowy, who has known Sayoc since 2002, said the Florida-native had no interest in politics, until Trump came along.

“And along came the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who welcomed all extremists, all outsiders, all outliers, and he felt that somebody was finally talking to him,” Lowy said.

Each individual he sent a bomb to was a person or–entity in CNN’s case–President Trump has criticized in some capacity during his presidency. This incident is one of the many politically motivated attacks since Trump’s inauguration last year.

Greg Rivera, a political science major at Pace, believes this incident is not a one-off one and it speaks to the larger issue of a polarized U.S. political environment.

“It absolutely says something larger than just this particular incident… as a political science major I have to keep track of what seems like hourly news events these days and I have lost track of all the people who have been arrested in the past couple of years for threats against elected officials and actual attacks and vice versa, and against other institutions like the media, government judiciary, business and endless others, which shows you how bad it is” Rivera said. “While this didn’t start with Trump, he is symptom rather than a root which goes back decades to explain where we are now.”

For some, it was surreal to know two of the bombs were sent to areas near Pace’S campus, including George Soros’ Westcheter home and the Clinton’s estate. Kaitlyn Houlihan, a junior political science major, heard Chappaqua being discussed when the news broke on CNN and it immediately caught her attention.

Houlihan said she knew right away it was a “radical conservative” due to the political alignments of the would-be victims. Like Rivera, she believes political polarization was the root of this attack, and she suspects it may happen again.

“It’s definitely a lone wolf incident in the sense that one man planned this attack and no one else is to blame for this besides the bomber, but the country is so divided this will happen again,” Houlihan said. “I am positive that there are people in this country praising the attacker.”

One individual not praising the attacker is President Trump, who called Sayoc’s attack “terrorizing” and “despicable” before stating there is no place for this type of act in the U.S.

“We must never allow political violence to take root in America,” Trump said. “I’m committed to doing everything in my power as President to stop it.”

However, many have criticized the president for not acknowledging his possible influence on Sayoc and other right-wing extremists who have wreaked havoc since he became president.

Rivera believes that those looking for a strong response from Trump, or an apology to the media and the politicians he has repeatedly attacked, are doing a lot of wishful thinking.

“Look, Trump is never going to change,” Rivera said. “Every time there is a crisis, be it foreign or domestic, he always acts the same. Remember his infamous response to Charlottesville? His response isn’t likely to change anyone’s mine with the midterms just a few days out.”

“To be honest with my own personal bias, as someone who is an independent but leans heavily democrat, I think the time of trying to reason with him or the republicans is over,” Rivera continued. “Now [democrats need] to fight hard and get even, no matter what it takes. I’m not saying democrats are perfect… but if we keep expecting republicans to check [Trump] or grow a pair and do the right thing, then you will just be disappointed.”

Rivera referenced republican support for Kavanaugh as a sign that there is “no moderate wing” of the party.

“The reality is that there is little to nothing that is going to change their minds while they are stuck in their mentality, which is why the time of trying to be friends is over, now just fight for the kill,” he said, referring to what the democratic strategy should be to take on republicans. “While I know it sounds aggressive to some… there is no other solution. As the old saying goes, ‘you can lead a horse to the water but you can’t make it drink.'”

Houlihan agrees that Trump’s response has been “horrible” thus far, but she hopes this incident convinces both sides of the political spectrum to be more respectful and not entice violence.

“The rhetoric has to calm down on both sides,” she said. “It’s not politicians at fault [for the bombing], but they are a cause of this type of violence and division.”

Houlihan does not believe political polarization in the U.S. is everlasting, and everyday-citizens can play a part in forming a less divisive future.

“We can stop promoting divisiveness and start promoting unity and culture based on respect,” she said.

Sayoc has been charged with five federal charges that can keep him in prison for up to 48 years.