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President Donald Trump sought to strike a gentler, more positive tone at a campaign rally Wednesday, just hours after authorities intercepted at least seven pipe bombs intended for Trump's political rivals.
Trump began his rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin by decrying the assassination attempts, calling them "an attack on our democracy itself."
"Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and prosecuted," Trump said. "There is one way to settle our disagreements, it's called peacefully, at the ballot box."
The president was visiting the state, which he won in 2016, in the hopes of boosting support for several Republican candidates who are locked in tight races.
"We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony — we can do it, we can do it. We can do it, it'll happen," Trump told the crowd. "There's much we can do to bring our nation together. Those that are engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective."
"Destructive arguments and disagreements have to stop. No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains, which is done often," Trump continued. "We've got to stop. We should not mob people in public spaces or destroy public property."
The media also "has a responsibility to do more to set a civil tone," Trump said, "and to stop the endless hostility and constant, negative, and oftentimes false, attacks and stories. Have to do it. They've got to stop."
Several times during his speech, Trump told the crowd he was "trying to be nice" in light of the assassination attempts on his political rivals.
Indeed, the difference was striking, and the crowd responded in-kind to Trump's subdued tone.
Several of the attack lines Trump has used during recent campaign rallies were missing from his remarks on Wednesday night, including his false claim that undocumented aliens are trying to vote in the midterm elections, and that Democrats want to destroy the nation's communities and families.
Yet even as Trump sought to play down his hyper-incendiary tone, he still held fast to several of his most well-worn, and false, claims.
"Liberal Tammy Baldwin wants socialist health care," Trump falsely claimed about the Wisconsin Democratic senator who is up for reelection this cycle.
"I'm trying to say that very nicely," Trump added. "Normally I would scream 'socialist takeover!' But I'm trying to be nice."