Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday the suspicious packages found at various locations targeting prominent Democrats have no known connection to the city of Los Angeles, but he said violent threats are “unfortunately a regular part of business the last five years.”
Speaking at an informal news conference with reporters at City Hall, Garcetti said he is often the target of threats, but he declined to say if Wednesday’s events had impacted the approach of his personal security detail. Garcetti has been traveling frequently around the country this year as he openly considers a run for the presidency, and the trips have raised his national profile.
“We get threats all the time. It’s definitely a toxic environment, and one in which people’s ability to anonymously threaten violence is probably greater than it’s ever been,” Garcetti said. “We take physical threats or virtual threats very seriously, but I trust the LAPD with that. And not just with me, but with other elected officials and notable people that live here in the city.”
Garcetti said he had not been directly briefed by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore regarding the East Coast packages, but said, “If there was a connection to L.A., that’s something he would have already told me. I know of no connection to Los Angeles.”
Garcetti suggested the rhetoric of President Donald Trump — who is known for launching personal attacks on his political opponents and who recently praised the actions of a Montana congressman convicted of physically assaulting a journalist — could be responsible for inspiring violence.
“This is the violence of this moment politically. We used to resolve our disputes in a civil manner. Now are we not only uncivil, we have a president who rallies people like a blood sport for going after a journalist physically,” Garcetti said. “We have people re-tweeting conspiracy theories of foundations being the cause of why Hondurans are fleeing death threats in their country. You have conspiracy violence and quite frankly un-American impulses guiding some of our leaders, and they are using that to stir up their base before an election. I think they bear some of the responsibility for some of the violence we see. And look, violence isn’t just on one side.”
Speaking at a White House event Wednesday, Trump decried the potentially explosive packages sent to Democratic leaders including Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.
“In these times we have to unify, we have to come together and send one 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.
He insisted that “the safety of the American people is my highest and absolute priority” and said, “The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts of justice.”