As the search continues for the person who sent suspected pipe bombs to key Democratic political figures including former President Barack Obama, the attacks drew criticism on the campaign trail in Georgia.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy were both in the Chattahoochee Valley Thursday and called for a more civil political process.
“We have to properly characterize it as assassination attempts against leaders in the country,” Abrams said during a late-morning get-out-the-vote rally at Columbus State University. “And that’s not only a tragedy, it is something that should terrify us all where our body politic is.”
McCarthy was in West Point, Ga., touring the Kia automobile manufacturing plant with Rep. Drew Ferguson, who is up for re-election in a solid Republican district that stretches from north Columbus to just south of Atlanta.
“This is unacceptable,” McCarthy said. “America is better than this. Not knowing who this individual or these individuals are and why they are trying to do what they are doing, I think this is a place in a situation like this all Americans unite together to make sure we solve this.”
Americans need to come together and work across the political divide said Abrams, who is locked in a bitter race with Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
“I may disagree with my opponent on policy, but I would never call into question his humanity and I am deeply disturbed by the national rhetoric that is creating space for this,” she said. “I believe that we have to respect not only those who are leaders, but we have to respect the role that the media plays in sharing information. I do not currently face any threats, but what I do say is I want to be seen as someone who will bring people together. We can disagree sometimes, but we do not have to turn every disagreement into a battle.”
Ferguson agrees that there must be an effort to work across the deep partisan divide.
“I despise terrorism in any form — and this is domestic terrorism,” he said. “I think in a weird way it could bring our country together. It’s an eye-opening moment for us and we have to have real, honest discussions and debates to find common threads to move forward instead of trying to tear this country apart.”
McCarthy said in his congressional leadership role, he had been briefed on the attacks. The mailed pipe bombs began surfacing Wednesday morning and by Thursday the FBI had confirmed nine suspected bombs. In addition to Obama, Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, CNN and others were targets. None of the bombs had exploded and no one had been injured in the attacks.
“I want to make sure that all agencies are working together,” McCarthy said. “If you give law enforcement a little time and the combinations, they will figure this out. I like what the president is doing, making sure that all resources are applied, making sure they stop this and track this individual or individuals down.”