A GOP Office Was Firebombed & Donald Trump's Response To It Was Inaccurate & Offensive
This may not come as an enormous shock, but Donald Trump's response to the firebombing of a GOP office in North Carolina is offensive, inaccurate and uninformed, in roughly equal parts. The Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina, was firebombed and vandalized overnight, with graffiti reading "NAZI REPUBLICANS LEAVE TOWN OR ELSE," accompanied by a swastika. In response, Trump sent a tweet asserting that Hillary Clinton supporters were responsible for the firebombing (there's no evidence of this), calling the perpetrators "animals" and claiming that the attack was only carried out because Trump is ahead of Clinton in North Carolina (which he isn't).
Nobody was injured in the attack, but the interior of the office, which is located in a shopping center, was severely damaged when. According to Hillsborough police officials, a bottle containing a flammable substance was throw through the front window and ignited inside. The incident is being investigated jointly by the Hillsborough Police Department and the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Like clockwork, Trump weighed in on the incident with an inappropriate, inaccurate and impolite response.
So, first and foremost, there's no evidence whatsoever that the attackers were acting on behalf of Clinton's campaign or the Democratic Party. There's no evidence that whoever did this even supports Clinton — there are more than just two candidates in this presidential race — or opposes Trump. We don't know anything about who carried this out, and it's unbelievably reckless for a presidential candidate to claim otherwise. One shudders to think how a President Trump would respond if a terror attack occurred on his watch.
Trump also says in that tweet that the attack took place "because we are winning @NCGOP." The grammar of this makes it a bit unclear precisely what Trump is claiming: Did he first claim that he's winning the election in general and then tag the North Carolina GOP at the end of his tweet? Or did he intend to say that he's winning North Carolina in specific, using "@NCGOP" as a stand-in for "North Carolina?"
It's anybody's guess, but it doesn't actually matter, because Trump is wrong on both counts. He isn't winning North Carolina; though the race there is close, FiveThirtyEight's polls-only forecast gives Clinton a 70 percent chance of winning the state in November. And Trump most definitely isn't winning the election on the whole. His chances of defeating Clinton are somewhere between two and 14 percent, depending on which forecaster you ask.
Lastly, let's note Trump's use of the word "animals." That is not a common thing to say in mainstream political discourse. As an insult, it's firmly rooted in racist beliefs of a bygone era, and it's not the first time Trump has used it in this election. Given the Trump campaign's cozy relationship with white supremacists, as well as the candidate's own history of racist statements, it's impossible to view his use of "animals" as anything other than a code word to a certain segment of his supporters.
In a tweet sent before Trump's, Clinton called the firebombing "horrific and unacceptable," and expressed gratitude for the fact that nobody was hurt — which is the appropriate way to respond to something like this.