President Obama promises to politicize mass shootings as a way to demand more gun control. But the White House says that’s not what he’ll be doing as he visits the victims of the college shooting in Oregon on Friday.
According to the White House, Obama will be traveling to meet and console the victims and no public remarks are expected.
“I think in this instance, on Friday morning, the trip would not be about politics, but that trip would be about merely consoling the families who were so profoundly affected by that tragedy.”
Earnest added that the visit was convenient for the president, since he would already be on the West Coast for a series of fundraisers and events in California, but that it was unlikely that he would make public remarks.
Obama’s tone has shifted dramatically on the issue since Thursday, when he took the podium vowing to politicize the issue.
“[T]his is something we should politicize,” he said, asserting that “thoughts and prayers are not enough” when dealing with the aftermath of mass shootings.
Earnest explained that Obama’s rhetoric was more about the president’s desire to combat the National Rifle Association and less about grandstanding in the location of a mass shooting.
But that didn’t stop Obama from speaking about gun control during his funeral eulogy for one of the victims of the church shooting in South Carolina earlier this year.
“For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation,” he said during the eulogy, asserting that the “the majority of gun owners want to do something about this.”