Suspicious packages ‘despicable’: Trump

President Donald Trump says a “major federal investigation” is underway into the attempted attacks.US President Donald Trump has condemned the series of attempted attacks on high-profile Democrats and others, declaring “acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States”.

Attempting a bipartisan pause during a divisive campaign season, Trump called for unity after crude pipe bombs targeting Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, CNN and others were intercepted on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Trump called the suspicious packages “despicable” and said a “major federal investigation” was underway.

Coming just 13 days before the midterm elections, the packages were directed at prominent Democrats and a cable network often criticised by political conservatives.

In his rallies and on Twitter, Trump has frequently lambasted Clinton, Obama and CNN, as well as other Democrats and news outlets, often with menacing undertones.

At a rally in Montana last week, Trump praised Republican Representative Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter, saying “any guy that can do a body slam … he was my guy”.

Trump on Wednesday did not name any of the entities targeted by the devices.

“We’re extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning, and we will get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 election, said it was a “troubling time” and a “time of deep divisions and we have to do everything we can to bring our country together”.

The president’s allies have pushed back on the suggestion he contributes to a toxic political atmosphere.

Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said: “I don’t see anything really wrong with the president. He’s in a tough position, attacked on all sides, and he ought to be able to express himself.”

Republicans also condemned the suspicious devices.

House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced the “reprehensible acts” as an “attempt to terrorise public figures”.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “domestic terrorism”.

Representative Steve Scalise, who was severely wounded in a 2017 shooting that targeted Republican congressmen on a suburban baseball field, tweeted that as a nation “we must agree that this is a dangerous path and it cannot become the new normal”.