Trump: I'll 'pass' on calling Clinton, Obama after pipe bomb arrest

  • President Donald Trump on Friday said he does not plan to call the two former presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who were targeted with pipe bombs this week.
  • Earlier Friday, authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc on charges related to 13 pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and public figures whom Trump has criticized.
  • Trump said he had no plans to tone down his campaign rhetoric in light of the mail bombs. "Tone down, no. Could tone up," he said.
US President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he boards Marine One on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. - Trump is traveling to North Carolina for a 'Make America Great Again' rally. 
Alex Edelman | AFP | Getty Images
US President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House as he boards Marine One on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. - Trump is traveling to North Carolina for a 'Make America Great Again' rally. 

President Donald Trump on Friday said he does not plan to call the two former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who were targeted with pipe bombs this week.

Speaking on the South Lawn as he prepared to depart for a campaign rally, Trump was asked if he planned to reach out to the two former presidents.

"If they wanted me to, but I think we'll probably pass," Trump said.

The comment came after authorities arrested Florida resident Cesar Sayoc on Friday and charged him with crimes related to 13 pipe bombs that were mailed to prominent Democrats and public figures who have been critical of Trump.

To be sure, Trump is not required to call the two former presidents. But there is a long tradition of civility and communication among U.S. presidents and former presidents. Trump has largely eschewed this tradition, however.

Trump also told the press that he was in no way to blame for Sayoc's actions, and he did not think there was anything he should do differently in his campaign rhetoric. The president has frequently come under fire for his searingly divisive tone on the campaign trail, as well as his willingness to employ fear-mongering and falsehoods to rally his conservative base.

Asked whether he might be able to tone down his rhetoric in light of the mail bombs, Trump said no. "Tone down, no. Could tone up. I think I've been toned down, if you want to know the truth."

He then went on to complain about the news media's coverage of Republicans, calling it "very unfair."

Trump was scheduled to hold a campaign rally Friday night in North Carolina, where several incumbent Republicans are locked in tough reelection fights.