A GOP office in Hillsborough, North Carolina, was firebombed overnight, with a swastika and the words “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else” spray painted on an adjacent building, according to local officials.
“The flammable substance appears to have ignited inside the building, burned some furniture and damaged the building’s interior before going out. The substance was housed in a bottle thrown through one of the building’s front windows,” according to a statement by the town of Hillsborough.
A bottle of flammable liquid was thrown through the Orange County Republican headquarters, police said.
“This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property; it willfully threatens our community’s safety via fire, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said in a statement.
“I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of people who make Hillsborough their home: Acts like this have no place in our community,” he said. “Our law enforcement officials are responding quickly and thoroughly to investigate this reprehensible act and prosecute the perpetrators.”
North Carolina is a key swing state in the presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The Clinton campaign tweeted a note of sympathy:
The North Carolina Republican Party tweeted its appreciation in response.
“The office itself is a total loss,” Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the state Republican Party, told The Charlotte Observer. “The only thing important to us is that nobody was killed, and they very well could have been.”
The weekend firebombing episode become fodder for claims by Trump that the election is “rigged” in Clinton’s favor, reflecting the intensity surrounding of the campaign in the final weeks of the race. In the evening, Trump — without evidence — blamed the firebombing on Clinton supporters.