President Obama arrives in Orlando to pay tribute to massacre victims
President Barack Obama has today arrived in Orlando, where he will pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando massacre.
49 people were killed and 53 injured in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack over the weekend,which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.
With over 100 people dead or injured, it stands at the largest-scale shooting in US history.
President Obama has described the attack as “an act of terror and an act of hate”, adding: “It’s a reminder that regardless of race, religion, faith or sexual orientation, we’re all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act.”
The President has today landed in Florida, where he is expected to visit the families of many of the victims and pay tribute on behalf of the nation.
He arrived with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who appeared to have hitched a lift with the President from DC despite their opposing political views.
He also travelled with Florida Democrat Connie Brown, and was met on the tarmac by Mayor of Orlando Buddy Dyer and Governor Rick Scott.
Press Secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday: “The President is interested in travelling to Orlando to meet with the families of those who were killed in the terrorist attack on Saturday night.
“The President certainly wants to offer his condolences and comfort to the families of those who were killed and to those who survived.
He added: “I think it’s important for the President of the United States, on behalf of the country, to show his support for these families and for these individuals.
The President, of course, will also spend some time talking to first responders, to medical professionals – EMTs, nurses, doctors, surgeons – who acted heroically, courageously, and in some cases with disregard for their own safety, to try to save innocent lives.
“And their efforts – based on the reporting that we’ve seen, their efforts were successful. Dozens of lives were saved as a result of this heroic action. And the President wants to thank them for those demonstrations of professionalism and courage and patriotism.
“While he’s there, will also have an opportunity to speak publicly about what he sees and also about the message that he’s preparing to deliver on behalf of the country to make clear that the country stands with the people of Orlando, stands with the LGBT community in Orlando as they grieve for their loss.”