[Content Note: Terrorism; Nazi references.]
Over the weekend, a North Carolina Republican Party office in Hillsborough was firebombed: "An explosive device was thrown through a window of the office, causing some damage. The words 'Nazi Republicans, leave town or else' were also painted on a nearby building," accompanied by a swastika.
There were no injuries, and no arrests have been made. An investigation is ongoing.
Hillary Clinton responded by tweeting: "The attack on the Orange County HQ @NCGOP office is horrific and unacceptable. Very grateful that everyone is safe."
Donald Trump responded by tweeting: "Animals representing Hillary Clinton and Dems in North Carolina just firebombed our office in Orange County because we are winning."
To be clear: There is no evidence that anyone representing Hillary Clinton or Democrats committed this act. Trump is making a very dangerous and irresponsible accusation.
It is, of course, possible that someone who is a Clinton supporter and/or affiliated with the Democratic Party committed this terrible crime. But possible doesn't mean certain.
There are also a number of other possibilities: Someone who is further to the left of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats and does not support them, either. Someone who is apolitical but just wants to cause chaos. Someone who is a Trump supporter and wants to frame leftists in an attempt to swing the election in their favor.
That last one is not without precedent. As you may recall, around this time right before the 2008 election, a young white female McCain supporter staged a racialized hoax, claiming a Black man had attacked her, robbed her, and carved a B (for Barack) into her face. I went out on a limb when the attack was first reported, urging caution because it sounded staged, and so it was.
I am urging caution once again.
There is no reason to speculate, and I ask that we not do so here. Let the investigation run its course.
Relatedly: A group of Democrats fundraised over $10k in response to the firebombing, to help the NC GOP rebuild its office. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I understand the urge to change the narrative quickly and forcefully. On the other, there seems to be some "Not All Democrats" embedded in this action, which tacitly concedes this was done by Democrats (facts not in evidence) and also functions to position one's reputation above the safety of vulnerable people constantly under attack by Republicans in North Carolina, whose advocacy groups could have used that sort of money.
I hope anyone who donated to the rebuilding effort will match their donation (at least) to an organization like Equality NC or one of North Carolina's Planned Parenthood locations.
In sum: Let's not react rashly. Acts such as this require thoughtfulness and patience.
I strongly condemn the act no matter who committed it, and I am relieved no one was physically harmed, and I am grateful to Hillary CLinton for once again showing wise leadership in a tough moment.