A Republican Party office in the US state of North Carolina has been attacked with suspected firebombs, local officials say, putting another dark spin on an already bitter race for the White House.
The attack occurred on Sunday night, when a bottle filled with flammable substance was hurled at the Orange County GOP offices and set the furniture on fire after shattering the front window, the Hillsborough government said in a statement.
According to the statement, vandals then attacked an adjacent building, covering its walls with a graffiti that read: “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”
Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were investigating the matter and had yet to make damage estimates. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory described the incident as “an attack on our democracy.”
Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina, said the attack amounted to a case of “political terrorism.” He also asked all GOP offices in the county to close voluntarily before the end of the day. “This [the attack] will not deter good people from exercising their rights,” North Carolina Republican Party spokeswoman Kami Mueller said in a tweet.
The North Carolina Democratic Party also condemned the attack, with Chairwoman Patsy Keever saying that “violence has no place in our political system.” The incidents came at a turbulent time for the Republican Party, which has been torn apart over the nomination of Donald Trump for this year’s presidential election.
The bombastic candidate has raised many eyebrows with his disparaging remarks against women, immigrants and Muslims. Trump has proposed a ban all Muslims entering the US, saying America should run extensive background checks on them to ensure they are not linked to terrorists.
The billionaire businessman has also hurt the GOP’s stance among Hispanics by pledging to build a wall on the border with Mexico. He has also said that, if elected, he will deport millions of illegal immigrants. Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party have been hit with a much bigger controversy over the past weeks, after the candidate was seen using obscene language against women.
Despite Trump’s apology for the lewd tape, many senior GOPers have withdrawn their endorsements. Trump reacted to the attack by blaming it on “animals” who are “only tolerant when you follow them blindly.” His Democratic rival Hillary Clinton also condemned the attack, calling it “horrendous and unacceptable.”