Cesar Sayoc, from Aventura, Florida, has been charged with posting at least 13 devices to people including ex-president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democrat donor George Soros and actor Robert de Niro.
“He was anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Jewish, you name it,” said Debra Gureghian, general manager of the New River Pizza and Fresh Kitchen restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where Mr Sayoc worked until January. “Everybody that wasn’t white and wasn’t a white supremacist didn’t belong in the world – that’s what he used to say to me all the time.”
Ms Gureghian added her employee’s political views “scared” her.
“He knew I was a lesbian and a very proud lesbian and he made it a point to tell me that God had made a mistake with me and that I should burn in hell,” she told the CNN news channel, which was also targetted.
Authorities charged Mr Sayoc, 56, on Friday after tracing him through finger prints and DNA left on the packages.
Officials revealed he had a long criminal record of relatively minor offences including theft, steroid possession and, significantly perhaps, making a bomb threat to an energy company.
But they declined to say what they believed motivated him to send this week’s bombs.
Nonetheless, court records, social media activity and revelations from those who knew him – including family members – have started to build a picture of a troubled and deeply partisan individual.
“I said, ‘What do you hate for?’” a cousin, Lenny Altieri, told NBC of a 2014 conversation the pair had about racism. “He got very upset with me and that was the last time we spoke.”
Mr Sayoc, he added, was “built like a freakin’ animal – he took too many steroids, and they make you crazy.”
Among other revelations have been that the registered Republican had attended Trump rallies in the past and boasted of owning $7,000 worth of Trump-branded clothing. He claimed it had all been stolen in 2015, according to a police report from the time.
In another official document – a 2014 deposition uncovered by The Washington Post – he claimed his professional life had included stints as a manager at a strip club, an owner of a dry-cleaning store, a pro wrestler, a Chippendales dancer and professional soccer player in Milan. None of them appear to have been wholly true.
“He described himself at the centre of all these business ventures with all these people. It didn’t seem like it could be true,” David McDonald, the lawyer who dealt with the deposition, told the paper.