Obama’s Statement on ISIS and Orlando
President Barack Obama spoke on the Islamic State and on the Orlando shooting following a meeting with his security council.
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday angrily denounced Donald J. Trump for his rhetoric in the aftermath of the shooting massacre in Orlando, Fla., saying the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was peddling a “dangerous” mind-set that recalls the darkest periods in American history.
“We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence,” Mr. Obama said at the Treasury Department. His statement came after a meeting with his national security team on the status of the American effort against the Islamic State, which the president said had been dominated by discussion of the Orlando rampage.
“Where does this stop?” the president said of Mr. Trump’s approach, noting that he had proposed a ban on admitting Muslims into the United States, and that the Orlando assailant, like perpetrators of previous domestic terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Fort Hood, Tex., was an American citizen.
Trump and Clinton on Orlando Shooting Hillary Clinton’s and Donald J. Trump’s responses to the massacre in Orlando, Fla., highlighted their differences on gun control and immigration.
“Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith?” Mr. Obama said, his voice rising during his most direct condemnation yet of Mr. Trump. “Do Republican officials actually agree with this?”
The president, who has steadfastly refused to use the term “radical Islam” to describe the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, bitterly rejected criticism from Mr. Trump and other Republicans about failing to use the phrase.
“If there’s anyone out there who thinks we’re confused about who our enemies are, that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we’ve taken off the battlefield,” Mr. Obama said. “There’s no magic to the phrase ‘radical Islam.’ It’s a political talking point, it’s not a strategy.”
The president said he would not use the wording because he was unwilling to give the Islamic State the victory of accepting their vision of themselves as leaders of a holy war between Islam and the West.
What Happened Inside the Orlando Nightclub
A gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 at a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday in the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Here is an account of what happened based on statements from public officials and witnesses.
Orlando Ocean FLORIDA Gunman lived in Fort Pierce West Palm Beach
Orlando 441 Site of shooting 527
Timeline of the Attack
Before 2 a.m. Omar Mateen, a resident of Fort Pierce, Fla., a city about 120 miles from Orlando, parked his van outside Pulse, a gay nightclub.
Nightclub Entrance Patio Parking lot S. ORANGE AVE.
The New York Times; photograph by Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
2:02 a.m. He entered the club armed with an AR-15-type assault rifle, a handgun and many rounds of ammunition, and opened fire, said Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department.
An off-duty officer working for the nightclub responded and engaged in a gun battle with the gunman near one of the entrances.
Restrooms Main dance floor Patio Main entrance Additional officers responded and entered the gun battle.
Restrooms The gunman retreated to a bathroom where the police believed he had four to five hostages.
About 15 to 20 people were in the adjacent restroom. Some patrons who were hiding called the police and texted friends and family for help.
Gunman was barricaded in one of the bathrooms with several hostages. Women’s restroom Men’s restroom Main dance floor Patio Main entrance
A SWAT team and an armored vehicle arrived. A team of crisis negotiators began to talk with the gunman.
At one point, the gunman made a 911 call, beginning a series of conversations with the police during which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. He also made statements about bomb vests and explosives, which spurred the officials’ decision to launch a rescue operation.
5 a.m. The police tried to blow a hole in the outer wall of the restroom, but it did not penetrate the wall completely.
Police breached the wall with an armored vehicle. Women’s restroom Men’s restroom Main dance floor Patio Main entranceNext, officers used an armored vehicle to punch a hole in the wall, allowing hostages to flee. The gunman also emerged from the hole, armed with a handgun and a long gun. He was killed in a shootout with the police.
One officer was shot in the head, but his Kevlar helmet prevented serious injury, Chief Mina said. At least 30 people were found alive.
Graphic: What Happened Inside the Orlando Nightclub
“If we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama is scheduled to travel to Orlando on Thursday to visit with the surviving victims and the families of those killed in the rampage on Sunday morning
On Tuesday, he called on Congress to enact gun restrictions that it has so far resisted, including the resurrection of a ban on assault weapons and a measure that would bar the ability to purchase guns to those on no-fly lists because of suspected terrorist ties.
“Enough talking about being tough on terrorism,” Mr. Obama said. “Actually be tough on terrorism and stop making it as easy as possible for terrorists to buy assault weapons.”