Never let a tragedy go to waste and these guys sure didn’t. So tacky and tasteless. Wonder if all the families like their loved one’s deaths being politicized?
President Barack Obama said today that Orlando was ‘shaken by an evil and hateful act’ as he and Vice President Joe Biden laid flowers flowers at a makeshift memorial this afternoon for victims of the Sunday shooting after the ‘held and hugged’ their families.
Carrying two bouquets of white roses, one flower for each of the 49 victims, a somber-looking Obama and a shades-wearing Biden, put the flowers underneath a red, white and blue wreath outside Orlando’s Phillips Center, adjacent to City Hall, that was already surrounded by bunches of flowers and Mylar balloons in remembrance of the lives snuffed short in the tragedy.
‘Their grief is beyond description,’ Obama said this afternoon. ‘These families could be our families. In fact, they are our family. They are part of the American family.’
The president said he told them, ‘Our hearts are broken, too, but we stand with you.’
Obama said he also talked to families about his belief that broader restrictions on firearms would make it harder for terrorists to commit future acts of mass violence, and ‘they pleaded that we do more to stop the carnage.’
‘They don’t care about politics. Neither do I. Neither does Joe. And neither should any parent out there…This debate needs to change,’ he said.
Stricter gun laws will not prevent every violent act, Obama said. ‘But we can stop some tragedies. We can save some lives.’
‘If we don’t act, we will keep seeing more massacres like this because we will be choosing to allow them to happen. We will have said, we don’t care enough to do something about it.’
Obama began his remarks by reflecting on his trip, and he observed, ‘Today we are reminded of what is good. That there is compassion, empathy and decency, and most of all, there is love. That’s the Orlando that we’ve seen in recent days. And that is the America that we have seen.’
The president soon put aside soothing words as he expressed his frustration with the Republican-run federal legislature that won’t approve more aggressive gun regulations and their presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
‘Today, once again, as has been true too many times before, I held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked, why does this keep happening? And they pleaded that we do more to stop the carnage,’ he said.
The Republican position on gun control ‘defies common sense,’ Obama said. ‘Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families.’
They should also meet with the Newtown, Connecticut, families, he said, whose children would right now be finishing fifth grade had they not been brutally mowed down in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting.
Republicans ought to explain to those families ‘why it is that we think our liberty requires these repeated tragedies,’ he said. ‘That’s not the meaning of liberty. ‘
In a nod to Senate Democrats, who filibustered in the name of gun control legislation on Wednesday for 15 hours with Connecticut Chris Murphy at the helm, Obama said he hopes senators who opposed more aggressive background checks have a ‘change of heart’ and vote for similar legislation now.
Obama said he was heartened to hear that the Senate would, however, take up legislation that would keep guns from being sold to suspected terrorists.
‘I truly hope that senators rise to the moment and do the right thing,’ he said.
That both of the last two terrorist attacks in the United States – Orlando and San Bernardino – were committed by ‘deranged individuals’ who were radicalized by propaganda on the internet and used similar instruments of death, ‘it’s going to take more than just our military’ or intelligence teams to defeat ISIS, Obama declared.
‘As good as they are,’ Obama said of U.S. authorities, ‘if you have lone wolf attacks like this, hatched in the minds of a disturbed person, then we’re gonna have to take different kinds of steps in order to prevent something like this from happening.’
Obama also seemed to brush back presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who says he’ll introduce a ban on Muslim immigrants if he’s elected, as he said, ‘We’re also reminded of what unites us as Americans, and that what unites us is far stronger than the hate and the terror of those who target us.’
‘Joe and I were talking on the way over here — you can’t make up the world into “us” and “them,” and denigrate and express hatred towards groups because of the color of their skin, or their faith, or their sexual orientation, and not feed something very dangerous in this world,’ Obama said, subtly referencing his beef with Trump without mentioning the businessman’s name.
Obama said, ”If there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now is the time. It’s a good time for all of us to reflect on how we treat each other, and to insist on respect and equality for every human being.’
The president and vice president were in Orlando today for meetings with local officials and families of the nightclub shooting victims, as well as survivors.
He was greeted on the tarmac by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who presented him with an ‘Orlando United’ t-shirt.
Obama was not supposed to deliver a speech before he flew back to Washington. The White House said today he would only ‘offer a few personal reflections’.
At 18 minutes long, his statement took on a speech-like quality, though, as the president rebuffed the opposing party for placing their belief in constitutional protections afforded by the Second Amendment ahead of proposed regulations that Democrats say could save countless lives.