President Donald Trump blasted the media during his Friday night rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, accusing it of trying to "score political points" in its coverage of bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc's arrest.
Sayoc is accused of mailing no less than 13 explosive devices to prominent Democrats. He's been charged with five federal crimes in connection with sending what authorities have referred to as crude pipe bombs.
What did Trump say?
Trump lectured the media and press on their coverage of what many left-leaning organizations dubbed the "MAGABomber" and said everyone — including the media — has a role to play in maintaining civility in the U.S. regardless of their political leanings.
The president also accused the media of trying to influence the midterm elections by attempting to "score political points" as a result of Sayoc's apparent partisan intent of violence.
"Political violence must never, ever be allowed in America, and I will do everything in my power to stop it," he began.
"In recent days, we've had a broader conversation about the tone and civility of our national dialogue," Trump continued. "Everyone will benefit if we can end the politics of personal destruction."
He added, "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."
'The media's constant, unfair coverage, deep hostility, and negative attacks'
At one point, the crowd began chanting "CNN sucks!"
"And they do, indeed," Trump continued. "They have a major role to play as far as tone and as far as everything. And we all say this in all sincerity, but the media's constant, unfair coverage, deep hostility, and negative attacks ... only serve to drive people apart and to undermine healthy debate."
The president went on to note that when a Bernie Sanders supporter attempted to murder Congressional Republicans at a baseball practice, the party "did not use that heinous attempt at mass murder for political gain, because that would have been wrong."
"It would have been the wrong thing to do," he added, noting that the Republican Party doesn't blame the Democratic Party "every time radical leftists seized and destroy public property and unleash violence and mayhem."
"Yet," Trump continued, "the media has tried to attack the incredible Americans who support our movement to give power back to the people."
Later during the rally, Trump said it's high time to address real issues in the U.S.
"It is time for us to replace the politics of anger and destruction with a real debate about the real issues," Trump added. "And we want honest coverage from the media. That's all we want."
Earlier in the day, reporters at the White House asked the president if he would tone down his speech for the Charlotte rally.
He responded, "Well, I think I've been toned down, if you want to know the truth. I could really tone it up, because the media has been extremely unfair to me and to the Republican Party."
"I think the media has been very, very unfair in terms of the Republican Party and the way [the Sayoc case] been covered," he added. "And they understand that. They write articles about that. Many of them admit that. But the media has been unbelievably unfair to Republicans, conservatives, and certainly to me."
You can watch Trump's rally in the video player below: