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Sarah Sanders responds to CNN chief's criticism after bomb scare: 'You chose to attack and divide'

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By Brett Samuels, The Hill

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday night hit back at CNN over the network president's criticism of the Trump administration's rhetoric toward the press following a bomb threat at CNN's New York City office.

"[President Trump] asked Americans 'to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the USA' Yet you chose to attack and divide. America should unite against all political violence," Sanders wrote on Twitter, following Trump's rally in Wisconsin that evening.

Sanders referenced remarks from Trump on Wednesday afternoon at the White House, in which he called for unity and pledged a full investigation, but did not mention any of the people targeted by name.

The press secretary did not reference more recent remarks Trump made at his campaign rally in Wisconsin, where he called for "peace and harmony," then suggested the media and his critics were to blame for the hostile political climate.

Sanders's response came hours after CNN President Jeff Zucker specifically chastised her and Trump for showing a "total and complete lack of understanding... about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media."

"The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter," Zucker said. "Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."

CNN was evacuated Wednesday morning after a suspicious package arrived at the network's New York City offices. The package turned out to contain an explosive device similar to ones addressed to former President Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and billionaire philanthropist and Democratic megadonor George Soros.

Authorities also fielded suspicious packages on Wednesday addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Each of the intended recipients has been criticized explicitly by Trump during his presidency.

None of the packages detonated before they could be intercepted by law enforcement.

Republicans and Democrats alike widely condemned the threats, but pointed fingers at the other party for contributing to the current state of discourse.

Trump has had a tense relationship with the media dating back to his presidential campaign and extending into his tenure in the White House.

The president often derides negative coverage as "fake news," and has, in recent months, repeatedly labeled the press the "enemy of the people." He typically singles out the press at his raucous campaign rallies, which has resulted in crowds jeering reporters and chanting "CNN sucks."

The relationship between CNN and the Trump administration has been particularly contentious.

Sanders and White House correspondent Jim Acosta regularly spar during White House press briefings, including a particularly intense clash over the administration's separation of migrant families.

The White House banned CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins from attending an open press event in July after she pressed Trump over his relationship with his former attorney Michael Cohen during a meeting with the head of the European Commission.

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Sarah Sanders responds to CNN chief's criticism after bomb scare: 'You chose to attack and divide'
Sarah Sanders responds to CNN chief's criticism after bomb scare: 'You chose to attack and divide'
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