Pence: North Carolina GOP office firebombing is ‘political terrorism’

Mike Pence

HILLSBOROUGH, North Carolina (CNN) — Mike Pence on Tuesday afternoon visited the North Carolina Republican office that was firebombed and vandalized over the weekend, an act that he declared “political terrorism.”

“I wanted to come by to call attention to this cowardly attack on our supporters in North Carolina and to no less extent and attack on the American political system,” the GOP vice presidential candidate told reporters. “This was an act of political terrorism and I have to tell you how inspired I am to see the way this community has come together and people have come together to continue to move forward undeterred, unintimidated by this senseless act of violence and we are truly inspired.”

The Indiana governor, who is campaigning in North Carolina for the day, made the unannounced stop at the offices of the Orange County Republican Party outside of Raleigh to bring attention to the incident and show solidarity, he told reporters.

Hillsborough police said they are still processing evidence from the scene and they are receiving assistance from the FBI, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

A bottle of flammable liquid was thrown through the Orange County Republican headquarters, police said.

Pence went inside the charred office while the Orange County GOP chairman Daniel Ashley explained to the candidate what they knew so far about the incident and the layout of the office, pointing to a spot where he used to sleep on a couch. The furniture had gone up in flames.

“An attack on our political system is an attack on us all,” Pence said.

During a news conference, Pence was asked about running mate Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election will be “rigged.”

“I believe in local participation. There is no question whether it be in the state of Indiana, or in states around the country that in recent years we have had instances, proven instances of voter fraud,” Pence said. “That is why Donald Trump and I are encouraging all of our supporters around the country, and frankly every American whatever their politics, to take the opportunity to be involved in a respectful way in providing accountability at our polling places.”

He added: “The one person, one vote principle is the very bedrock of our democracy and insuring through participation in the process of assembling the vote between now and November 8 is a certain way that the American people can ensure the integrity of this election and I’m confident that we will do that.”