This photo, taken on Sunday morning, shows New York City Major Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo standing next to a mangled dumpster. This, of course, is ground central for the Chelsea neighborhood explosion that took place Saturday night. In a series of statements, the two men have diverged on whether to describe the event as “terrorism.” Also complicating factors — two additional events this weekend, one being the New Jersey pipe-bomb explosion and the other being the Minnesota mall stabbing. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the latter event.
Investigators are still piecing together evidence for the Chelsea event. At least 29 people were injured (though none fatally), and a second device — a pressure-cooker similar to the devices used in the Boston Marathon bombings — was located hours after the blast. NJ Gov. Chris Christie has stated that Chelsea event and the New Jersey pipe bombing weren’t connected, and he distanced his state’s incident from the Minnesota mall stabbing as well, but there have been hints on live CNN broadcasts that a connection may arise.
In New York, however, authorities don’t agree whether the word “terrorism” applies, which is a true dilemma, considering how the investigation is ongoing, and no one wants to jump to conclusions. Late Saturday night, de Blasio held a press conference to label the Chelsea incident as “intentional,” but he declined to call it a “terrorist” act. This refusal angered many people on social media, who can’t understand how an explosive device placed in a dumpster could have any intent other than terrorizing the city.
“Here’s what we know. It was intentional. It was a violent act. It certainly was a criminal act. It was a bombing. That’s what we know. To understand any specific motivations, clinical motivations, any connection to an organization, that’s what we don’t know. I think it’s important to say what we know.”
Gov. Cuomo feels differently. He also addressed the press and revealed how authorities can’t yet say whether international terrorism is involved. However, he’s not hesitating at all to call the Chelsea incident a terrorist act: “A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism.” He also stated that the Chelsea event will be prosecuted as terrorism.
Cuomo then appeared on CNN, where he was asked to explain the conflicting language between himself and de Blasio. Here’s what Cuomo thinks about a refusal to call the Chelsea event terrorism: “Frankly, it’s semantics.” He explained further how he and de Blasio toured the area together and received “the same information, the same observation, and the same conclusion. And everything else was just semantics.” In this clip, he discusses the “violent, criminal” explosion in Chelsea, and he says, “You don’t get to set off a bomb in New York or any city in this country without trying to frighten people, causing terror, period.” He concluded, “You call that terrorism whether it’s linked to an organization or not, that’s semantics. All the facts are the same.”