Romper

Obama's Response To The Orlando Nightclub Shooting Calls It An "Act Of Terror And Hate"

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It wasn't long after news broke that over 50 people were killed in an Orlando nightclub Sunday in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history for the White House to respond. Just hours after authorities confirmed there was an hours-long standoff with a lone gunman, who police killed, the White House released a statement informing the public that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the tragedy. But Obama's reaction to the Orlando shooting at Pulse came later.

(Update: The FBI has updated the death toll to 49 victims. The shooter was also killed.)

It's difficult to imagine how one could conjure up the proper words to truly mourn the killings Sunday morning. Nearly everyone felt helpless following the shooting — it's easy to imagine a lame duck president felt the exact same way. (Especially since he's already expressed a "sense of urgency" for gun reform in an executive action in January.) But Obama nevertheless made a statement.

Obama's words came after White House press secretary Josh Earnest released a statement to the press expressing "our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims." (Despite many criticizing the "thoughts and prayers" phrase following the San Bernardino shootings.) Continued the White House's statement, "The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community."

There are many ways to support the community, as many have found while feeling helpless following the tragedy, donating blood being the number one option. But there's little doubt that the conversation will shift to how to help prevent shootings like these in the future, with the president leading the charge (and encouraging our future president to do the same). Because, as Obama said during the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 — which took the lives of 20 children, and six more adults — "as a country, we have been through this too many times."

And the Orlando shooting confirmed just that.