The Commercial Appeal

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

‘WE ARE UNITED IN GRIEF AND OUTRAGE,’

- From Our Press Services

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Sunday called the mass shooting in Orlando “an act of terror” and “an act of hate.”

“We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city,” the president said in a brief address to the nation.

While emphasizin­g that the motivation­s of the gunman are still under investigat­ion, Obama said, “We know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans, we are united in grief and in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.”

“We are still learning all the facts,” the president said. “This is an open investigat­ion. We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivation­s of the killer. The FBI is appropriat­ely investigat­ing this as an act of terrorism. And I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiratio­n or associatio­n this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we’ll uncover why and how this happened.”

Obama said Sunday was “an especially heartbreak­ing day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgende­r.”

He called the attack “an attack on all of us.”

While he did not explicitly call for more gun control measures, Obama said the shooting underscore­s how easy it is for people in the United States to obtain deadly weapons.

“The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle,” Obama said. “This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”

Obama urged Americans to say a prayer for the victims and their families.

Americans, he added, “will not give into fear or turn against each other.”

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton also offered prayers and support to the victims, but both infused their sympathy with statements that favor their presidenti­al aspiration­s.

Clinton, the presumptiv­e Democratic nominee, pushed for gun control and reached out to a key constituen­cy.

“The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them,” she said in a statement, adding a call to keep assault weapons out of the hands of “terrorists or other violent criminals.”

Trump, the presumptiv­e Republican nominee, also offered words of support, but later tweeted that he had been “right” about Islamic extremism.

“Horrific incident in FL. Praying for all the victims & their families. When will this stop? When will we get tough, smart & vigilant?” he tweeted. Then about an hour later: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”

Obama issued a proclamati­on honoring the victims of the attack and ordering U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and all public buildings and military bases until sundown Thursday.

 ?? PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? President Barack Obama pauses Sunday during his address about the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting, which he called “an attack on all of us.”
PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS President Barack Obama pauses Sunday during his address about the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting, which he called “an attack on all of us.”

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