President Donald Trump on Tuesday weighed in for the first time on the serial bombings in Austin, calling the person or people responsible "sick" and vowing law enforcement "will get to the bottom of it."
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"What's going on in Austin — a great place, a tremendous place — is absolutely disgraceful," Trump said in the Oval Office alongside Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. "We have to find this very sick person or people."
Trump would not answer whether the five bombings over the past 18 days amount to acts of domestic terror or hate crimes, instead praising the cooperation between the federal government and local officials in the investigation thus far.
"We have to find them really immediately," Trump said. "I will say working with Texas, working with the local governments has been great. We have to produce and find this very sick person or people."
The White House has faced some criticism over what some have deemed a relatively muted public response to the bombings. Prior to the president's remarks, the only acknowledgment by the White House was from deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, who said that Trump was briefed on the Sunday evening trip-wire bombing. Press secretary Sarah Sanders then appeared on Fox News earlier Tuesday and said the president was aware of the bombings but that she hadn't yet spoken to him directly about the situation.
Critics noted a striking contrast between the president's immediate public response in the wake of terror-related incidents such as the New York truck attack on Halloween last year and the explosions in Austin that have produced no clear indication as to who the suspect or suspects could be.