Washington: US President Donald Trump on Friday called for ending the "politics of personal destruction" as he accused the media of using "sinister actions of one individual" to score political points against him and his party.
Trump's comments at an election rally in North Carolina came hours after police apprehended a 56-year-old man from Florida on charges of sending package bombs to at least 10 present and former high-level government officials including former president Barack Obama, former vice president Joe Biden and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Trump asserted that he "will do everything" to stop political violence and said media has a major role to play in unifying the nation.
"Political violence must never, ever be allowed in America, and I will do everything in my power to stop it. In recent days, we've had a broader conversation about the tone and civility of our national dialogue. Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction, Trump said amidst applause from his supporters.
"We must unify as a nation in peace, love, and in harmony. The media has a major role to play. Whether they want to or not," he said as his supporters booed the media.
The large gathering of Trump's supporters were chanting, CNN sucks! CNN sucks!"
Trump said the media has been unfair to him and the Republican Party.
And they do, indeed. They have a major role to play as far as tone and as far as everything, Trump said.
We all say this in all sincerity, but the media's constant unfair coverage, deep hostility...... and negative attacks – you know that – only serve to drive people apart and to undermine healthy debate, he said.
Trump alleged that the media has tried to link the recent spate of package bombs to him and the Republican party.
We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party, he said.
"When a Bernie Sanders supporter tried to murder congressional Republicans and severely wounded - a great man named Steve Scalise and others, the Republicans did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain, because that would have been wrong," he said.
"It would have been the wrong thing to do. Many other examples could be brought up. Nor do we blame the Democrat Party every time radical leftists seized and destroy public property and unleash violence and mayhem. Yet the media has tried to attack the incredible Americans who support our movement to give power back to the people, he said.
In the aftermath of the spate of package bombs, the Republicans have lost some ground in the upcoming November 6 elections.
Trump told his supporters that 94 percent of the press that he gets is negative. Even when I do something wonderful, it's negative, he said as he cited the progress made by him in relationship with North Korea.
Even when we do great things, you look at North Korea, how good are we doing? It's been going with them for 70 years, more than 70 years. This is now our fourth month, and they always say, he's not moving fast enough. Fast enough? If I wasn't here, you would have ended up in a world war. You watch! I mean, you would have ended up in a world war, he said.
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 relationship between CNN and the Trump administration has been particularly contentious. The news network has been a frequent target of Trump's "fake news" barbs.
CNN, whose New York bureau was evacuated on Wednesday following the discovery of an explosive device sent there, criticised the Trump administration for a "total and complete lack of understanding" of the seriousness of its attacks on the media.