The van in which police apprehended a man suspected of mailing more than 10 packages containing likely pipe bombs this week was covered in messages and images praising President Donald Trump and attacking his critics.
The suspect ― identified by law enforcement officials as Cesar Sayoc, 56, of South Florida, according to Reuters, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal ― drove a white, elaborately decorated van. It bore images of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as stickers featuring crosshairs over the faces of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNN host Van Jones, documentarian Michael Moore, former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and others.
Next to Jones’ face are the words “Dishonest Media” and “CNN Sucks,” echoing the barbs Trump frequently employs to undermine news outlets he disagrees with.
Sayoc’s arrest and the emergence of photos of his van apparently contradict claims by some pro-Trump pundits and conspiracy theorists that the mailed pipe bombs were planted or fabricated by Democrats.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean someone is espousing some sort of conservative ideology and targeting Democrats,” former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker told Fox News on Thursday. “It could be someone who is trying to get the Democratic vote out and incur sympathy.”
More than 10 packages containing potential explosive devices were mailed to current and former politicians and other public figures critical of Trump this week. Among the recipients were former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Trump’s 2016 presidential opponent Hillary Clinton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), actor Robert De Niro and former CIA Director John Brennan.
The package addressed to Brennan was sent to CNN’s New York City bureau, prompting the newsroom to evacuate Wednesday.
Two additional packages were discovered on Friday before Sayoc’s arrest ― one addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and the other to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
For the return address, the packages listed the Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), a former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh baselessly argued that a Democrat must have sent the bombs because, he claimed, “Republicans just don’t do this sort of thing.”
Trump appeared to question the validity of the plot by putting the word “bomb” in quotes in a tweet on Friday.
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
To get a sense of the ideology of the man suspected of mailing the bombs, take a look at photos of the van below:
HuffPost An image taken by a person who met Cesar Sayoc last year in Miami shows Sayoc’s van. HuffPost A closer view of one of the windows of Sayoc’s van. HuffPost An image taken by a person who met Cesar Sayoc last year in Miami shows Sayoc’s van. HuffPost A close up of one of the van’s windows. ASSOCIATED PRESS This frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV shows FBI agents covering the van after the tarp fell off as it was transported from Plantation, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. ASSOCIATED PRESS This frame grab from video provided by WPLG-TV shows the van parked in Plantation, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.
— Mahmud mohamed (@thereal_mo01) October 26, 2018 ERIC BARADAT via Getty Images A van covered in blue tarp is towed by FBI investigators on October 26, 2018, in Plantation, Florida, in connection with the 12 pipe bombs and suspicious packages mailed to top Democrats.
Chris McGonigal contributed to this report.