New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that explosive devices being mailed to several prominent critics of President Donald Trump was “absolute terrorism.”
De Blasio spoke at a press conference following the discovery of yet another suspicious package. Police had responded earlier Thursday to the Tribeca Grill in New York City, which is owned by frequent Trump critic Robert De Niro, as well as the office of Tribeca Film Center, a company De Niro co-founded. The Weinstein Company’s New York City office used to be in the building.
The package contained a device resembling apparent explosives sent to CNN’s New York offices and to several high-profile Democrats on Wednesday, according to NBC News.
“The building was evacuated. The building is open and everybody is safe. This is not what free speech should look like,” Jane Rosenthal, who co-founded Tribeca Enterprises with De Niro, told CNN’s Chloe Melas.
Authorities on Thursday also investigated a postal facility in New Castle, Delaware, where a second suspicious package addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden had been intercepted, The Associated Press reported.
The devices discovered on Wednesday appeared to have come from the same individual or individuals, authorities said. They were sent to Hillary and Bill Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Biden, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and former CIA Director John Brennan. The address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was listed as the return sender on the packages, according to the FBI.
A device was found earlier in the week at the home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a prominent Democratic donor.
“You’re going to see a lot of police presence,” de Blasio said at the press conference. He added that New Yorkers should feel safe and that there is no present threat. The packages are being analyzed at an FBI lab in Virginia.
Investigators believe some of the explosive devices may have been mailed from southern Florida, The New York Times and WNBC reported Thursday. All the recipients have been targets of right-wing invective. The motive for the attacks was unclear and no one has claimed responsibility.
De Niro has taken profanity-laden jabs at Trump, and the president has lashed back by calling the actor a “low-IQ individual” and “punch-drunk.”
“I just want to say one thing,” De Niro said in June. “Fuck Trump. It’s no longer down with Trump. It’s fuck Trump.”
The NYPD urged people to avoid the area in a tweet. Several streets in the Tribeca neighborhood were closed.
A bomb squad vehicle was seen driving the package away from the area along the West Side Highway. Police Commissioner James O’Neill said it was taken to a secure facility in the Bronx.
Trump, in a Thursday morning tweet, lamented the anger “we see today in our society.” He said it’s a product of the “purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.”
On Wednesday night, the president blamed the media for creating a culture of hostility, though he condemned the bombs and called for unity.
Hayley Miller contributed reporting.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.