Cesar Sayoc, the Trump-supporting van dweller from Florida who funneled his Fox News-fueled rage at the liberal establishment into a mail bomb campaign last fall, was sentenced Monday to 20 years in federal prison.
"I am beyond so very sorry for what I did," Sayoc said at his sentencing hearing in New York, per the Associated Press, adding that he never intended for the 16 homemade pipe bombs he mailed to prominent critics of the president to actually detonate.
None of the devices did detonate, but the episode was nonetheless a creepy example of the violent hate that both the president and his Fox News rogues' gallery have helped to foment in the last three years. Sayoc chose 13 targets for his campaign, which he unleashed in October 2018, and they included former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and current presidential candidates Tom Steyer, Joe Biden, Senator Corey Booker, and Senator Kamala Harris.
Sayoc, 57, pleaded guilty in March to 65 counts including charges of using weapons of mass destruction, which could have come with mandatory life sentences.
Nicknamed "The MAGA Bomber," Sayoc was found by the FBI living out of a van that had been plastered with pro-Trump pictures and messages, the words "CNN Sucks," and images of enemies, including one with Clinton with a rifle scope super-imposed on her face. Sayoc reportedly spent his days, between working as a DJ at a strip club and delivering pizzas, watching Fox News "religiously" at his gym, and tweeting messages of support for President Trump. Sayoc's attorneys said he had "lost everything" during the Great Recession, and had taken solace in his political views.
From the prosecutors' sentencing memorandum:
The defendant’s terrorist attack was the culmination of years of violent and hate-filled threats, months of planning, and days of carefully assembling the explosive mailings while proudly monitoring media coverage of the widespread panic he induced...
It is clear that the defendant perpetrated this attack intending to injure and silence public servants and private citizens based on their civic activities, and to intimidate like-minded people from entering the public arena and participating in discourse that is critical to the proper functioning of this country.
Sayoc was arrested in Plantation, Florida on October 26, as CNBC reported. At the time, Trump responded by blaming the "Fake News" media for amplifying the story about Sayoc, and continuing to condemn CNN — which was also one of Sayoc's mail-bomb targets.
"There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news," the president tweeted, also possibly in response to reports about the Tree of Life synagogue shooting which had happened in Pittsburgh just days before Sayoc's bombs began arriving. The accused shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, actually had denounced the president in social media posts as "a globalist, not a nationalist."