Political commentator, Rochelle Ritchie said that pipe bomb suspect, Cesar Altieri Sayac, had contacted her two weeks before the incident and threatened her on social media. But she said no one took her seriously at the time.
Ritchie, former press secretary for the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, who regularly appears as a Fox News panelist told NBC News that a Twitter account registered to Sayac with the username, “hardrock2016”, had messaged her on Oct. 11 saying ” Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.” He went on to tweet that he was part of an was a part of the “Unconquered Seminole Tribe” that could take her on a “nice silent Air boat ride” in the Everglades.
Disturbed by it, Richie responded, “Threatening my life… bad idea” and then blocked the user. Afterwards, she reported the tweet to Twitter but the social media network told her it did not find any violation of its policies. After the pipe bomb incident happened, she retweeted the post as a “I told ya so.”
Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!! pic.twitter.com/xBY8FMbqnq
— R O C H E L L E (@RochelleRitchie) October 26, 2018
Sayac, 56, is accused of sending pipe bombs to Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Maxine Waters and other Democratic officials, including the CNN headquarters in New York City. He was arrested by federal authorities on Friday morning in Plantation, FL. He faces up to 58 years in prison and five federal charges, including threatening a former president and illegal mailing of explosives.
That same day, after Sayac was identified from the suspect, Twitter sent Richie an email saying, “Please disregard our last reply as it was sent in error. We apologize for any inconvenience. We’ve investigated and suspended the account you reported as it was found to be participating in abusive behavior.”
Ritchie said as a political commentator she is used to social media abuse and trolls, especially as a outspoken, black women speaking openly on politics in the Trump America. She adds that she has been called racial slurs but she said this particular threat stood out to her because his post involved a physical threat.
“The anxiety is because I thought of my family more than I thought of myself,” she told Charles Payne of Fox News. “And coming onto Fox News, I’ve always said this and I’ve always been treated very graciously by everyone at Fox News, regardless of my more left-leaning views on things. ”
With that being said, she added that she doesn’t look at herself being a target because of her appearance on Fox News. “I really look at this as more of an issue as the divisive rhetoric that we see coming from the White House.”
She continued, “I blame the president for not being able to take responsibility for his divisive rhetoric.”
Watch a snippet of the interview below:
I have said it before & I will say it again the hosts, producers, bookers & the entire staff @FoxNews has always been extremely welcoming to me. Great discussion with @cvpayne on @TeamCavuto pic.twitter.com/S9Q7EeyGZB
— R O C H E L L E (@RochelleRitchie) October 27, 2018
Authorities say Sayac is a avid Trump supporter and had stickers of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence posted on his van’s windows, as well as CNN’s Van Jones, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and filmmaker Michael Moore with red targets or crosshairs over their images. Sayac’s account on Twitter has been suspended.
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