Following the tragic Orlando shooting rampage that claimed 50 lives and injured 50 others at gay nightclub Pulse, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement, which was published in the official website of The White House, and called the heinous crime not only an ?act of terror,? but an attack on ?the fundamental values of equality and dignity.?
?So 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. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.?
Pres. Obama said that the Orlando shooting was especially heartbreaking because they were targeted at a place that represented solidarity and empowerment.
?This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.?
Pres. Obama also lauded the swift response of the local police, who came to the scene and prevented the carnage from getting worse.
?We also express our profound gratitude to all the police and first responders who rushed into harm?s way. Their courage and professionalism saved lives, and kept the carnage from being even worse. It?s the kind of sacrifice that our law enforcement professionals make every single day for all of us, and we can never thank them enough.?
Pres. Obama also asked the people not to give in to fear.
?As we go together, we will draw inspiration from heroic and selfless acts — friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives. In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.?
The US President also ordered that US flags be flown at half-mast as a way of honoring those who perished in the shooting rampage.
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has been vocal about his plans to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, called for toughness and vigilance.
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
The tough-talking businessman also asked Pres. Obama to step down from the presidency for choosing to not call the incident ?Islamic terrorism.?
Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't he should immediately resign in disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
?Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse,” Mr Trump said in a statement, as the UK Telegraph reported. “I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, issued a statement regarding the mass shooting, calling the incident ?the deadliest mass shooting? in US history.
?I join Americans in praying for the victims of the attack in Orlando, their families and the first responders who did everything they could to save lives.
?This was an act of terror. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are hard at work, and we will learn more in the hours and days ahead. For now, we can say for certain that we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad. That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home. It also means refusing to be intimidated and staying true to our values.
Hillary also identified herself as an ally of the LGBT community.
?This was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear.?
The former secretary of state also expressed her support for stricter policies on gun ownership.
?Finally, we need to keep guns like the ones used last night out of the hands of terrorists or other violent criminals. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States and it reminds us once more that weapons of war have no place on our streets.
This is a time to stand together and resolve to do everything we can to defend our communities and country.?
Hillary put it best: ?Hate has absolutely no place in America.?
Hate has no place in this world. Period.
For more updates on the Orlando shooting, check out TheBitBag.?