In an enthralling dive into what might have motivated 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc to mail pipe bombs to at least 13 prominent Democrats and critics of Donald Trump, the Daily Beast reveals that Sayoc turned to his newly found political idol after severing ties with his mother.
People who know Sayoc told the Beast that estrangement from his family was one of the primary motivators of a deep personality change that ended with Sayoc obsessed with Trump and right-wing conspiracy theories.
Sayoc’s mother, Madeline Giardiello, kicked him out of their Florida home in 2015, after years of fighting and untreated mental illness, she said. That’s when he apparently moved into his van, which he plastered with pro-Trump propaganda and which would later serve as a makeshift pipe-bomb-making workshop.
Giardiello’s lawyer, Ronald Lowy, told the Beast that before all of the Trump paraphernalia, Sayoc liked to collect images of exotic dancers, Native American memorabilia, and discount clothing advertisements. He liked bodybuilding and exotic dancing. Lowy claimed to never have heard a racist word come out of Sayoc’s mouth until he found his savior, Donald Trump.
This part of the story is particularly riveting:
“If you want to know about causation,” the attorney said, “there are three reasons.
“Number one: He was isolated from his family. Number two: He hated his mother for being a Democrat—this is a nice way to get back at her, don’t you think? And the third: He heard a voice calling his name, saying that there’s a war happening, that the Democrats are the enemy, that the media is the enemy, and that you are my soldiers.”
Trump, the lawyer observed, represented everything Sayoc’s own mother did not.
If all of this is true, it confirms a couple of key takeaways. First, we desperately need better access to affordable mental health care in this country. Second, we need to vote out all of Trump’s Republican enablers this November.