Trump condemns 'political violence,' calls for national unity

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE on Wednesday condemned "acts or threats of political violence” and called for unity after suspicious packages were mailed to a number of prominent Democratic officials.

"I just want to tell you that in these times, we have to unify. We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America,” Trump said at a White House event where he signed an anti-opioid addiction bill into law.

Trump offered his first in-person comments since authorities intercepted explosive devices addressed to former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAren't delirious Democrats now accusing Team Obama of treason? Trump won't say if he'd endorse Pence in 2024 HHS restores legal meaning of 'sex' — what will US Supreme Court, Congress do? MORE, Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYoung Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Trump highlights polls that showed Clinton beating him by double digits MORE, former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen Brennan'Fox & Friends' co-host Kilmeade: Trump needs to 'clarify' comments on accepting foreign campaign intelligence Brennan slams Trump after ABC interview: Unfit to be president a 'gross understatement' Brennan slams Trump after ABC interview: Unfit to be president a 'gross understatement' MORE and former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderCongress and contempt: What you need to know Congress and contempt: What you need to know The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats wonder: Can Nadler handle the Trump probe? MORE. Another suspicious package addressed to Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersLawmakers battle over HUD protections for homeless transgender people Lawmakers battle over HUD protections for homeless transgender people Criticism punctuates Nadler's leadership of Trump probe MORE (D-Calif.) was also intercepted by police.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump has explicitly criticized each individual throughout his presidency, but did not mention any of them by name when discussing Wednesday's threats.

The president also did not address criticism that he has helped contribute to the toxic political environment in the U.S.

Trump decried the acts as "egregious" and "abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as Americans." A "major federal investigation" is underway, the president said.

"We are extremely angry, upset, unhappy about what we witnessed this morning and we will get to the bottom of it," Trump said.

The Department of Justice, FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service have all briefed the president on the matter, he said.

Trump stopped short, however, of labeling the suspicious packages as part of an act of "domestic terrorism," as FBI officials and top Republican lawmakers have done. 

Before Trump spoke, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump compares Melania to Jackie Kennedy: 'We have our own Jackie O' Trump compares Melania to Jackie Kennedy: 'We have our own Jackie O' The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE denounced the "cowardly attacks" and "those who choose violence."

"I’m grateful to the Secret Service as well as federal and local law enforcement for all they do on a daily basis to keep us safe, and encourage people across the country to choose kindness over hatred," she said.

The Secret Service said it intercepted explosive devices earlier Wednesday that were addressed to Obama, as well as Hillary and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFormer Senate Dem leader: 'No way' impeachment trial for Trump would lead to conviction Former Senate Dem leader: 'No way' impeachment trial for Trump would lead to conviction Pelosi: House Democrats 'not even close' to backing impeachment MORE.

Authorities in New York City discovered an explosive device mailed to the offices of CNN. The package was addressed to Brennan, who is actually a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC. 

Capitol Police later in the day said they had intercepted a suspicious package mailed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), one of Trump's most vocal critics on Capitol Hill.

A similar device was discovered in the mailbox at the home of billionaire philanthropist George Soros late Monday. Soros is an ardent supporter of liberal causes and Democratic politicians, and has been the subject of conspiracy theories pushed by far-right figures and some conservative politicians.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike were quick to condemn the threats, but some of the president's critics argued he has done more to inflame – rather than heal – the nation's political divisions. 
 
Trump has labeled Democrats an "angry mob" who pose a danger to the country, pointing to protests against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughDisclosure forms offer glimpse into Supreme Court's finances Disclosure forms offer glimpse into Supreme Court's finances Democratic challenger to Susan Collins announces Senate bid MORE and harassment of GOP lawmakers and administration officials at restaurants and on the street. 
 
The president last week also praised Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteGianforte files to run for Montana governor Gianforte files to run for Montana governor 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill MORE (R-Mont.) for body-slamming a reporter. Gianforte last year pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault following the incident.
 
CNN President Jeff Zucker tore into Trump and the White House after the president spoke, saying they have a "total and complete lack of understanding" of "the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media."

"Their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that," Zucker said in a statement.
 
Trump is scheduled to fly Wednesday evening to Wisconsin on for a rally in support of Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Senate candidate Leah Vukmir (R). The president's campaign rallies often turn raucous, with Trump fiercely railing against the media and Democrats. Attendees regularly respond with chants of "CNN sucks" and "lock her up," the latter a reference to Hillary Clinton.
 
Prior to Wednesday's White House event, Trump had tweeted that he "wholeheartedly" agreed with Vice President Pence’s denunciation of the threats.