It’s the tale of the tweet that never came.
Donald Trump has remained completely silent nearly a week after authorities arrested a man who planted an improvised explosive device at a North Carolina airport.
This past Friday morning, at 12:39 a.m., Michael Christopher Estes, 46, walked into Asheville Regional Airport wearing black clothing and a black cap while carrying a bag.
“Based on a review of the video, the individual walked near the entrance to the terminal, went out of sight momentarily, and was then seen departing the area without the bag,” according to the criminal complaint.
Airport security sprang into action, shutting down the concourse after a bomb-sniffing dog detected the presence of dangerous materials in the bag.
Investigators discovered an AN/FO (Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil) explosive that, according to the criminal complaint, has been used “in a number of terrorist-related incidents around the world. When AN/FO comes into contact with a flame or other ignition source it explodes violently. Nails or ball bearings are often items added to the device so as to increase the devastation inflicted by the explosion.”
“Estes described how he created the device using ammonium nitrate and the Sterno as a fuel source and then rigged the alarm clock to strike the matches and cause the flame necessary to trigger the device,” the complaint states. “Estes admitted to putting the nails in the device as well.”
“The device at the airport consisted of a Mason type jar with a lid that was locked down by an incorporated locking device,” the complaint adds. “There were prills — pellets or solid globules of a substance formed by the congealing of a liquid during processing — inside the jar and two plastic cups containing an unknown liquid substance, believed to be the fuel source,” the complaint states. “There were pieces of cold compress packs inside the jar.”
“The jar was filled with steel wool that was then wrapped around nails and one shotgun cartridge,” the complaint states, noting that it was a 410 gauge. “There was an alarm clock taped to the outside of the jar. There was then a grouping of matches taped to the striker arm positioned between the bells, and the bells were removed.”
The clock was set to go off at 6:00 a.m.
Estes “explained that he bought the precursor materials at Walmart and Lowe’s” in Arden.
The suspect told authorities he “was getting ready to ‘fight a war on U.S. soil.'”
Estes, had his first appearance in federal court Tuesday morning. He is charged with attempted malicious use of explosive materials and unlawful possession of explosive materials in an airport.
As noted by The Intercept’s Shaun King:
The story didn’t go viral and Trump didn’t tweet about it because the bomb was not placed by an immigrant, or a Muslim, or a Mexican. It was placed there by a good ol’ white man, Michael Christopher Estes. Unlike the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, whose motive is still hard to discern, Estes wanted to be very clear that his ultimate goal was to accelerate a war on American soil.
Sorry if it sounds like you’ve heard this story before. I’m as tired of writing it as you are reading it, but you know good and well that if Estes was a young Muslim — hell, if he had ever even visited a mosque in the past 25 years — that Trump would be tweeting about him right this very moment to tout how essential a Muslim ban is for American safety.
A Muslim attacker’s mugshot would become a meme across the conservative media. Mainstream American outlets would be covering the heroic bravery of those who thwarted the terrorist plot. We’d all be seeing footage of the perpetrator being walked from the police car to the jail and from the jail to the court room. Out loud, people would talk and tweet about the man’s family and friends and networks — wondering where he was radicalized, and if anyone else feels the way he does.