President Barack Obama reacted to the news of the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub on Sunday, referring to the attacks as “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
Speaking to reporters in the White House briefing room Sunday afternoon, Obama reminded them that law enforcement officials still didn’t know all the facts of the case and would follow the facts of the investigation to identify the motive.
“What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred,” Obama said. “Over the coming days, we’ll uncover how and why this happens and we’ll go wherever the facts lead us.”
But Obama ignored the connection to radical Islamic terrorism, even after news outlets reported that the shooter made a call to a Florida 911 center to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
Instead, Obama echoed the calls for more gun control from anti-gun activists, reminding Americans how easy it is for criminals to get guns.
“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,” he said, calling the attack “the most deadly shooting in American history.”
The president reached out the LGBT community, pointing out that they were the object of hate.
“The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance, sing and live,” Obama said.
He described the nightclub as a place of “solidarity and empowerment” for the LGBT community to “speak their minds and advocate for their civil rights.”
“This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country,” he said.