The mother of Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of sending pipe bombs to CNN and several high-profile Democrats last month, has a message for President Donald Trump: Stop stoking fear and hate against your fellow Americans.
Madeline Sayoc, in a letter sent by her attorney to ABC News, described being “shocked” and “confused” when she awoke from surgery last week and was told her 56-year-old son was accused of the attacks.
Though she has been estranged from Cesar Sayoc for several years, she said she believes he has been mentally ill “for a long time,” making him especially susceptible to the president’s frequent anti-media and anti-Democrat remarks.
“Our political leaders, like our President Donald Trump, need to recognize that there are many sick people in this country who take their rhetoric and words of ‘War with the Media’ and ‘War with the Democrats’ to heart,” Madeline Sayoc wrote.
“I beg President Trump and others to refrain from talk of War with fellow Americans and remember, as Senator McCain taught us, that we may politically disagree but we are all patriotic Americans and all we want is a safe country for all Americans,” she continued, referring to the late John McCain, who called for civility from supporters during his 2008 presidential campaign against Barack Obama.
Authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc, a staunch Trump supporter, in Plantation, Florida, on Oct. 26 in connection with the series of mail bombs ― none of which detonated. Law enforcement agents also took possession of Sayoc’s van, which was covered in stickers supporting Trump and criticizing Democratic officials.
“This is not how I raised him or my children,” Madeline Sayoc wrote in her letter. “We, in America, have a mental health crisis in this country and need to change laws to allow families to compel and require mental health treatment for those in need of such treatment before their illness worsens to where it is too late.”
Cesar Sayoc’s attorneys have not commented on their client’s mental health.
In the wake of the mail bombs and a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue last month, Trump has bucked calls from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to refrain from aggressively going after the media and people he views as his opponents.
Just days after CNN was sent a mail bomb, Trump tweeted that the “fake news media” are the “true enemy of the people.” He has also promoted a racist ad paid for by his re-election campaign that likens Central American immigrants to cop killers.