News

What We Know About the Firebombing of a Republican Party Office in North Carolina

Trump blamed "animals representing Hillary Clinton" for the attack one Republican official called "political terrorism."
October 17, 2016, 1:45pm
Melted campaign signs are seen at the Orange County Republican Headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina, on Sunday, October 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)

A Republican Party office in Hillsborough, North Carolina, was firebombed overnight Saturday, the latest escalation of the 2016 presidential race into outright political violence. Vandals apparently tossed a bottle filled with a flammable substance into Orange County GOP headquarters, charring pro-Donald Trump signs and furniture. They also scrawled "Nazi Republicans leave town or else" and a swastika on a nearby wall in spray paint, embracing a cavalier historical analogy that has long been embraced against Republicans but especially against Trump this year.

No one was injured in the incident, which wasn't noticed until Sunday. Local police and the feds are investigating what North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has called "an attack on our democracy," the Charlotte Observer reports.

The attack came during an especially tense stretch in an often-heated campaign. Four days ago, during a speech in West Palm Beach, Florida, alleged billionaire Trump alluded to a "global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities."

So far, Trump has not explicitly targeted any group in his new shtick. But there's a long history of the candidate sending coded messages to racists and bigots of all kinds––like the infamous Star of David tweet from last July, which stoked fears among some Jewish Americans that a major contender for president was willing to appeal to white nationalists for votes. And the new globalist conspiracy line is in keeping with anti-Semitic tropes over the decades.

Trump supporters who identify as part of the alt-right movement have, in the past, appropriated the Pepe the Frog meme and decorated him with swastikas. The symbol has become so prominent that Hillary Clinton felt the need to explain it on her website last month.

For his part, North Carolina state GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse told the Associated Press that this weekend's firebombing constitutes an act of "political terrorism" and that the bottle landed near couches where volunteers are known to nap after-hours.

Hillary Clinton tweeted that the attack was "horrific and unacceptable." Democrats then raised $13,000 to help rebuild the office, which was completely destroyed.

"Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning," Trump tweeted out in his typical belicose style.

As of Monday morning, no suspects had been apprehended in connection with the attack.

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