Democratic presidential candidates issued statements and tweets on the third anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida — but few of them mentioned that it was a radical Islamic terror attack.
Instead, most of the messages emphasized gun control, and referred to the shooting as an anti-LGBT hate crime.
When 49 people were murdered at Pulse three years ago, it was an attack on our LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities. Today I’m remembering the victims and their loved ones, and I promise to #HonorThemWithAction by continuing to fight for #GunReformNow. pic.twitter.com/bxrCRLx6bp
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 12, 2019
Three years ago, 49 lives were lost in a mass shooting targeting the Pulse nightclub—the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in history.
We must act to end these tragedies, and prevent those that would harm LGBTQ individuals from obtaining firearms. https://t.co/rC9lCfHrlb
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) June 12, 2019
Three years after Pulse, we honor the 49 lives that were senselessly taken with our actions. With a commitment to ending violence against LGBTQ+ Americans. With a commitment to fighting discrimination. And with a commitment to securing full equality. pic.twitter.com/fgZc4ilgAL
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 12, 2019
We lost their lives at #Pulse. In Congress, @repjohnlewis led us to take a seat on the House Floor until Republicans would stand up and do what’s right. They never did. We sat for over 26 hours to honor the victims of Pulse. Our work has never stopped. https://t.co/vqVU5Mksgj
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) June 12, 2019
Notably, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — the first openly gay presidential candidate — was one of the few who noted that the terrorist attack had any connection to radical Islamic terror.
In an e-mail to supporters memorializing the victims, Buttigieg — after a “trigger warning” of the sort that has become common on liberal college campuses — noted that the shooting had been carried out by “an ISIS-inspired terrorist.”
Former vice president Joe Biden used the word “terror” but did not connect it to radical Islam, and added a note about “gun violence”:
Prayers are not enough to end these senseless mass shootings. This violence is not normal. As a country, we have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to stop the gun violence epidemic.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 12, 2019
The Pulse nightclub shooting, which killed 49 and wounded 68, was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. It was carried out by Omar Saddiqui Mateen, the son of immigrant parents from Afghanistan. In a 911 call during the attack, Mateen pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the so-called “Islamic State,” or ISIS.
Almost immediately, Democrats and left-wing media began obscuring the role of radical Islamic terror in the attack. A year later, the media — and the LGBT rights movement — had transformed the event from a terror attack into a “hate crime.”
Many LGBT activists criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday for omitting mention of the fact that the victims were members of the LGBT community in his proclamation commemorating the event.
However, as even liberal Vox noted in 2018, evidence since the attack has suggested that anti-LGBT hate was not a motive: “There’s now conclusive evidence that the shooter wasn’t intending to target LGBTQ people at all. … Instead, the new evidence suggests, the Pulse nightclub shooting was intended as revenge for US anti-terror policies abroad.”
The nightclub was a “gun-free zone.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.