WASHINGTON — Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer called Friday for the impeachment for President Donald Trump, an issue he’s pressed for months, in his response to the discovery of a suspicious package addressed to the philanthropist.
In the tweet, Steyer wrote, “We’re thankful that everyone we work with is safe. We are seeing a systematic attack on our democracy that extends much further than just one isolated terrorist in Florida. That’s why we are running an impeachment petition to end the culture of lawlessness in our country.”
Police in Burlingame, California, responded to a postal facility where a suspicious package addressed to Steyer was found Friday. He’s one of the prominent political figures who were the intended recipients of suspicious packages, some carrying pipe bombs, including former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros and others. Two of the packages, addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, were addressed to them at CNN’s offices.
A 56-year-old Florida man named Cesar Sayoc was arrested Friday in connection with 13 explosive devices mailed around the country, federal authorities said.
Authorities believe the package addressed to Steyer is from Sayoc, according to multiple law enforcement officials.
This brings the total number of known packages sent by Sayoc to 14. However, he’s been charged with sending only 13 packages.
One of the officials says the package has been rendered safe and will be transported to the FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.
Steyer, a billionaire philanthropist who has escalated his political spending in the wake of Trump’s election, has financed a high-profile campaign for the President’s impeachment. Steyer has used a series of national ad campaigns and town halls through his “Need to Impeach” organization to push his message. He had also pledged to spend up to $120 million in the 2018 midterms.
In his official statement, issued through NextGen America, one of his other political advocacy groups, Steyer expressed thanks that “everyone we work with … is safe — that’s always our first priority, and will continue to be our first priority.”
He continued, “We are seeing a systematic attack on our democracy and our rule of law that extends much further than just one isolated terrorist in Florida. Whether it’s voter suppression, voter intimidation, attacks on our free press, gerrymandering, or attempted violence — the trust and norms that are the actual basis for our civil society and political system are being eroded.”
“It’s time for the Republican Party to denounce any attacks on the rights and dignity of any American and begin to work on building the broadest and most comprehensive democracy possible for each and every American.”
Steyer said Friday evening on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that while he does not “think there’s any direct link” between Trump and the bombs, the President’s rhetoric “incites people’s most emotional and violent feelings.”
“What Mr. Trump has done is create an atmosphere that condones violence, that actually incites people’s most emotional and violent feelings and creates an atmosphere where people feel free to live out … that kind of behavior and those kinds of feelings,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Steyer also said that the bombs’ recipients — prominent Democratic leaders and donors, as well as CNN — have been targets of the President’s insults.
“If you look, in fact, at where this gentleman has been sending his bombs, it reflects the kind of violent rhetoric that we have heard,” Steyer added. “It reflects the attacks on the press, which have been consistent, and it really reflects the attacks on open, peaceful democracy that have been going on now for several years.”
Other prominent Americans who were the intended recipients of suspicious packages condemned the attempted violence and issued calls to action.
Robert De Niro, who was targeted by a package intercepted at the Manhattan building where his production company is based, said in a statement, “I thank God no one’s been hurt, and I thank the brave and resourceful security and law enforcement people for protecting us,”
He continued, “There’s something more powerful than bombs, and that’s your vote. People MUST vote.”