Donald Trump weighed in on the cause of an explosion in New York City, declaring a bomb went off well before local authorities had made any official declaration about what had happened. Twitter responded swiftly, accusing the Republican presidential nominee of fear-mongering.
Trump’s comments came as he campaigned in Colorado, less than an hour after the 8:30pm ET explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Two hours later, the cause of the explosion was still being investigated, officials said. At the time of publishing, this is still the case.
At the current moment the cause of the explosion has not been determined.
NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) September 18, 2016
At least 29 people were injured and there were no reports of casualties outside the Associated Blind Housing facility at 135 W. 23rd St., where the explosion occurred. Officials described the injuries as minor, except one which is being treated as serious.
Although the New York City Police Department had yet to confirm the cause of the explosion, that didn’t stop Trump from talking about the emergency during a rally in Colorado Springs.
“Just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly whats going on, but, boy we are really in a time. We better get very tough, folks,” said Trump, who allegedly was briefed in his jet before arriving at the rally.
“Its a terrible thing thats going on in our world and in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant,” Trump added. “Well see what it is. We’ll see what it is.
Twitter vilified Trump, accusing him of inciting fear and noting the difference between his claims and the statements of New York City officials and local news reports.
Reason #723 why Trump shouldn’t be POTUS: based on early reports of explosion in NYC (could be gas leak?) he assumes terror; vague threats.
Scott Gunn (@scottagunn) September 18, 2016
Trump just called early reports of an explosion in New York a “bomb.” No confirmation of that yet. “We’ve got to get very tough,” he says
Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) September 18, 2016
CNN reported that law enforcement officials said a gas leak had been ruled out as the cause of the reported explosion, and that it could have been caused by a device put in or near a dumpster.
UPDATE: Sept. 18, 2016, 11:24 p.m. ET New York City officials livestreamed the press conference relating to the event. The Mayor’s office have said “The investigation is ongoing. Though we believe this was an intentional act, there is no credible terror threat against NYC at this moment.”
UPDATE: Sept. 18, 2016, 1:19 a.m. ET NYPD are investigating a second possible device on 27th and 6th Avenue, asking nearby residents to avoid their windows.
Officials have told news outlets that the second device appears to be a pressure cooker. A police robot has been sent in to inspect it.
UPDATE: Sept. 18, 2016, 11:12 a.m. ET
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters that this was “obviously an act of terrorism.” He did not, however, name which person or group might have been behind it.
“We will not allow these type of people and these type of threats to disrupt our life in New York. This is freedom. This is democracy, and we are not going to allow them to take that from us,” he said, according to the BBC.
“They want to instill terror. They want to make you worry about going into New York. We’re not going to let them instill fear.”