Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has clicked “Like” on at least two tweets promoting conspiracy theories related to the spate of suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats and the CNN offices in New York this week. The tweets Trump Jr. has liked suggest the acts were actually carried out by Democrats or Democratic allies in an attempt to “pick up blue sympathy” votes in next month’s midterm elections.
An investigation is ongoing into at least 10 pipe bombs that were sent to notable politicians and activists around the country this week, including former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Robert De Niro, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama. Authorities are exploring the possibility that the devices were mailed from Florida.
In a statement to HuffPost Thursday evening, a spokesperson for Trump Jr. said the social media likes don’t amount to support for the messages they contain.
“It’s common knowledge that on Twitter, ‘liking’ a tweet doesn’t automatically equal an endorsement of a tweet,” the spokesman said. “And unlike the establishment media which jumped to blame the President for these mailings without any actual evidence, Don is withholding judgement and not speculating on the matter until we hear more concrete evidence from those investigating it.”
Trump Jr., who is executive vice president of the Trump Organization, had earlier denounced this week’s spate of packages, saying on Twitter that “as someone whose family has directly been the victim of these mail threats” ― a reference to an incident earlier this year ― he condemned the actions “regardless of party or ideology.”
“This crap has to stop and I hope they end up in jail for a long time,” Trump Jr. wrote Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, too, called for national unity and civility at a rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday night. Moments later, however, Trump criticized the media for what he called a campaign of “endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories.”
“We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony,” the president said. “We can do it, we can do it, we can do it. It’ll happen.”
Trump Jr. is no stranger to controversy on social media, and has regularly used his massive online following to defend his family and level attacks at the media and Democratic lawmakers.
Recently, Trump Jr. used his personal Twitter account to peddle a conversation that appeared to smear the Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed earlier this month by his own government. He also shared a fake photo of Hurricane Florence in an attempt to smear CNN, and attacked the heritage of both Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Variations of the “false flag” theory about the mail bombs has come up multiple times on conservative media networks this week, including an allegation by radio host Rush Limbaugh, who suggested that a Democrat must be behind the bombs because “Republicans just don’t do this sort of thing.” A guest on Fox News, former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker, claimed the mailings may be linked to “someone who is trying to get the Democratic vote out and incur sympathy.”