2018 United States mail bombing attempts

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This vehicle doesn't immediately scream "crazy bomber," but having this offered as an explanation is somewhat unsurprising.
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The 2018 United States mail bombing attempts refers to an incident in late October 2018 wherein fifteen pipe bombs were mailed to various Democratic politicians and public figures known to be prominent critics of Donald Trump.[1] The bombing attempts started on October 22nd, 2018, and the last package was intercepted by the FBI in Atlanta, Georgia on the 29th.

On the 26th, a 56-year-old man named Cesar Sayoc was arrested and faced federal charges in relation to the attempted attacks.[2] He's the proud owner of the Kookmobile pictured on the right, which earned him the lovely nickname "MAGA Bomber".[3] The FBI and the United States government consider him to be a domestic terrorist,[4] because he freaking is.[citation NOT needed]

Luckily, no one was injured and none of the bombs actually detonated.[5]

On August 5, 2019, Sayoc was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.[6] Judge Rakoff, a vocal advocate against mass incarceration,[7] stated that he believed Sayoc "was fully capable of concocting pipe bombs capable of exploding," and since he didn't, the ineffectual nature of the devices were "in the court's view, a conscious choice." Sayoc will still be nearly 80 before he can be considered for release on good behavior.

General summary and timeline of events[edit]

Summary of incidents
Date Intended target Description of target Result
October 22 George Soros Billionaire investor, frequent target of conspiracy theories. Discovered by mail employee at Soros residence, rendered safe by police.[8]
October 23 Hillary Clinton Former U.S. Secretary of State, opponent to Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election Intercepted by Secret Service agents; package label was misspelled as "Hilary,"[9] a clear demonstration of Sayoc's evil genius.
October 24 Barack Obama Former U.S. President Intercepted by Secret Service.[9] Turns out that packages sent to high-level government officials are searched before they're opened by the recipients. Who knew?
Eric HolderWikipedia Former U.S. Attorney General, angrily outspoken Trump/GOP critic Package had an incorrect address and was thus returned to its labeled return address, the office of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, where it was discovered.[9]
Maxine WatersWikipedia U.S. Representative, deeply unpopular with Trump and his pals for being one of his fiercest enemies in the House of Representatives[10] Intercepted by Capital Police in a Maryland mail facility.[9] Again, it's crazy how the Postal Service doesn't just dump random packages on public officials' desks without checking them first.
A second package was intercepted in a Los Angeles mail facility.[11]
John Brennan (via CNN) Former CIA Director, goes on the news to criticize Trump, especially his foreign policy Discovered at CNN's New York office[12] (apparently Sayoc saw Brennan on TV and assumed he worked for them). Package was misspelled as "Brenan".[13]
October 25 Joe Biden Former U.S. Vice President Intercepted at a mail facility in Connecticut. Had an incorrect address.[14]
Intercepted in a Delaware post office.[14]
Robert De NiroWikipedia Actor, Trump critic Intercepted at the office of De Niro's production company after an employee recognized a similar package being reported on television news.[14]
October 26 James Clapper (via CNN) Former Director of National Intelligence Once again intercepted at CNN[15] because Clapper was apparently someone else Sayoc saw on TV.
Cory BookerWikipedia U.S. Senator Discovered in a Florida postal facility.[15]
Kamala HarrisWikipedia Intercepted in a Sacramento, California mail facility.[16]
Tom SteyerWikipedia Billionaire investor, like Soros but less famous. He has been leading an advertising campaign in support of impeaching Trump. Once again, the package was discovered in a mail facility.[16]
October 29 CNN Center CNN's world headquarters Intercepted in a post office in Atlanta, Georgia; even had it not been intercepted, it wouldn't have gone to the CNN Center anyways.[17]

Trump's reaction[edit]

Locations of the bombing attempts in the USA that Trump should care about.[18]
These terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country.
—Trump, in his emotionless they're-making-me-say-this mode.

Although Trump did condemn the attack and compliment law enforcement for their arrest of Sayoc, one of his tweets appeared to convey a very different attitude:

Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this "Bomb" stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows -news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!
—Trump, fully engaged, trying to make it all about how he did not get enough press[19]

Of course, Trump also later went back to his usual antics, attacking the (zing!) liberal media for "exploiting the case". He bears, but does not acknowledge, substantial responsibility for the deteriorating civility of the ever-polarizing dialogue between differing political opinions in the US (conservatives and liberals) that had fueled this incident.[20]

Right-wing reactions[edit]

One of the packages containing an explosive device. Note clever misdirection on the label.

Quite unsurprisingly, quite a few of Donald Trump's die-hard fanboys were quite outraged by the media's reaction to this incident as well, and many began spouting their usual rhetoric; one of them tweeted:

How quickly you all forget the calls for violence against Republicans by Democratic leaders & the 2 2016 GOP Headquarters fire bombings & GOP baseball shooting in 2017. Should we say ALL Democrats are complicit in 550[note 1] attacks against Republicans? Hypocrite[21]

The commenter seems to forget, if anything, that both parties strongly condemned the baseball shooting,Wikipedia, and no one in mainstream media brought up false flag conspiracies (unlike right-wing pundits including Rush Limbaugh, Bill Mitchell, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Candace Owens, Geraldo Rivera, and Donald Trump Jr. — all of whom have done so in this incident[22]). The accusations of hypocrisy are unfounded. Most pundits have only doubled-down on their remarks (Geraldo Rivera is a notable exception). Ann Coulter, for instance, has deflected her attacks to her accusation that immigrants are more likely to cause political violence anyway (this is not true, and it's not like an immigrant was even involved in this incident!). This behavior is an example of classic Whataboutism by right-wing pundits who can blame incidents on liberals no matter the outcome and shirk responsibility when their own side has people in huge media platforms and high positions of power that repeatedly attack the press and call for violence.

Arrest and sentencing[edit]

After his arrest in October 2018, Sayoc later pleaded guilty in March 2019 to the charges of mailing explosive devices.[23] Sayoc's defense team argued that he "lost everything in the Great Recession", had "cognitive limitations and severe learning disabilities" and "abandoned by his father and sexually abused by a teacher at his Catholic school".[24] After that, they said, Sayoc became a disturbed man who was obsessed with watching Fox News and fantasizing about Donald Trump.

Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Sayoc, but the judge agreed with the defense that Sayoc had intended to intimidate rather than kill and sentenced him to 20 years in federal prison.[25]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. These "attacks" apparently referenced a Breitbart article that included such terrible violence as vandalism saying "Fuck trump", a paraglider with an anti-trump message, and Cher saying that ICE uses "Gespato tactics". Too barbaric for words.


  1. Pipe Bombs Investigation Turns Toward Florida as More Trump Critics Are Targeted William K. Rashbaum, Alan Feuer and Adam Goldman. New York Times. Oct. 25, 2018
  2. US mail bombs: Cesar Sayoc charged after campaign against Trump critics BBC News. 27 October 2018
  3. ‘MAGABomber’: How the mail bomb suspect nickname spread Magness, Josh. Miami Herald. October 26, 2018
  4. The manhunt: FBI treating serial bomber as domestic terrorism Kara Scannell and Evan Perez, CNN. October 25, 2018
  5. 5 days, 14 potential bombs and lots of questions. Here's what we know. Karimi, Faith. CNN. October 27, 2018
  6. ‘MAGA Bomber’ Cesar Sayoc sentenced to 20 years in prison for trying to kill Trump critics, including Obama, Clinton, Biden, Booker, Harris
  7. [1]
  8. Explosive device found near home of billionaire investor George Soros Kelly Murray. CNN. October 24, 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Suspicious packages sent to Clintons, Obamas, Soros, CNN: What we know so far Marina Pitofsky, USA Today. Oct. 24, 2018
  10. Maxine Waters is one of Trump's fiercest critics. She'll get a powerful new platform if Democrats take the House Puzzanghera, Jim. LA Times. SEP 26, 2018
  11. Package addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters found at South L.A. mail facility is similar to those on East Coast Winton, Richard. LA Times. OCT 24, 2018
  12. 'Act of terror': Bombs sent to CNN, Clintons, Obamas, Holder Karl de Vries, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN. October 25, 2018
  13. Jim Sciutto Twitter post. 10.24.18
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Suspected explosives sent to Biden, De Niro as investigation into pipe bombs expands to 10 packages Devlin Barrett ,Mark Berman and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. Washington Post. October 25 2018
  15. 15.0 15.1 Arrest made after more mail bombs: Cory Booker and James Clapper latest targets Locker, Melissa. 10.26.18
  16. 16.0 16.1 Suspicious Packages Sent to Sen. Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer Tied to Mail Bomb Suspect: FBI Riya Bhattacharjee, Andrew Blankstein and Kristofer Noceda. NBC News. 10.26.18
  17. CNN Communications Twitter post. 10.29.18
  18. https://nordic.businessinsider.com/contentassets/140514866e774e32b0028a929c36dcfa/5bd366a0be664a419e6f0bf2.png?preset=article-image
  19. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1055826295337172993
  20. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45996655
  21. How quickly you all forget the calls for violence against Republicans by Democratic leaders & the 2 2016 GOP Headquarters fire bombings & GOP baseball shooting in 2017. Should we say ALL Democrats are complicit in 550 attacks against Republicans? Hypocrite by The Anti-Liberal‏ @MichelleMcC0323 (October 27, 2018) Twitter (archived from 31 Oct 2018 03:56:33 UTC).
  22. Rosenberg, E. (October 27, 2018). Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and others stick with conspiracy theories after mail-bomb suspect’s arrest. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  23. Cesar Sayoc pleads guilty to mailing explosive devices to Trump critics by Mark Berman & Edith Honan (March 21, 2019 at 5:31 PM) The Washington Post.
  24. Mail bomber Cesar Sayoc obsessed with Trump, Fox News, chilling new court filings show. ABC News.
  25. Florida Man Who Mailed Bombs To Democrats, Media Gets 20 Years In Prison by Richard Gonzales (August 5, 20195:59 PM ET) NPR.