75ºF

Quotes from leaders on the mass shooting in Orlando

photo
(Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

Reactions to this morning's worst mass shooting in U.S. history, has been powerful, emotional and widespread.

President Obama called the attack a "horrific massacre of dozens of innocent people." He told Americans, "We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city," calling it an act of terror and an act of hate. The President said, "What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we'll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us."

Florida Governor Rick Scott shared his anger over the attack, saying "of course this is a time of great tragedy, and in every tragedy, there is a flood of sadness, confusion and despair. But, this is an attack on our people. An attack on Orlando. An attack on Florida. An attack on America. An attack on all of us."

The governor vowed to devote every and all available resources to help the city of Orlando heal, in the wake of the tragedy, after declaring a state of emergency for Orange County.

Late Sunday night, Scott tweeted, "I ask every American to continue to pray for our state and nation and all those affected by this terror attack."

Statements from leaders home and abroad:

"Clearly, this was not just an attack on the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida, but an attack on America. Together, our nation must stand united against terror and hatred, and not permit prejudice, violence and fear to have the upper hand over the American ideals of compassion, liberty and freedom." U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown said.

"As I've said many times before, our courageous first responders - law enforcement and emergency response teams - protect us on a local level daily and do what our military does on a global level every day. Our hearts go out to the victims of this senseless violent crime and we are grateful to those who responded selflessly and heroically in the face of danger," State Attorney, Angela Corey, said in a statement. 

"Our world is no longer a safe and predictable place. We cannot allow ourselves to be pulled into a false sense of security. Today's tragedy is a stark reminder that we are not immune from these types of domestic terror attacks nor the hateful motives which drive these assailants," President of the Florida Sheriffs Association, Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell, said in a statement. 

"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.  Hate has absolutely no place in America," Hillary Clinton said in a statement. 

“Last night, our nation was attacked by a radical Islamic terrorist. It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, and the second of its kind in 6 months. My deepest sympathy and support goes out to the victims, the wounded, and their families. We need to protect all Americans, of all backgrounds and all beliefs, from Radical Islamic Terrorism - which has no place in an open and tolerant society. Radical Islam advocates hate for women, gays, Jews, Christians and all Americans. I am going to be a President for all Americans, and I am going to protect and defend all Americans. We are going to make America safe again and great again for everyone," Donald Trump said in a statement.

"It's horrific, it's unthinkable. And just hopes go out to all those who were shot that they can recover." Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential candidate, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press."

“It is a reminder that the war on terror has evolved into something that we've never had to confront before, individuals capable of conducting these sorts of massacres unexpectedly in places that you wouldn't normally associate with the kind of attacks that you see," Marco Rubio said in a statement. 

“We mourn the deaths of innocent victims, all made in the image of God. Violent Islam, whether it’s card-carrying members of ISIS or al-Qa'ida or its crowd-sourced attackers, must be defeated," Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, said in a statement. 

"I wish you and people in the U.S.A. strength and determination so that your country can stand together to come to terms with the grief and pain over this attack," German President Joachim Gauck, said in a message of condolences to President Barack Obama.

"Pope Francis joins the families of the victims and all of the injured in prayer and in compassion. Sharing in their indescribable suffering he entrusts them to the Lord so they may find comfort. We all hope that ways may be found, as soon as possible, to effectively identify and contrast the causes of such terrible and absurd violence which so deeply upsets the desire for peace of the American people and of the whole of humanity," Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, said in a statement. 

"We are looking at a massacre that has no precedent in the history of the gay community," Rome's Gay Center spokesman Fabrizio Marrazzo told the Italian news agency ANSA.

"We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country. Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety," Equality Florida said.

French President Francois Hollande "condemns with horror" the mass killing in Florida and "expresses the full support of France and the French with America's authorities and its people in this difficult time" in a statement from Hollande's office.

"My thoughts go out to the victims, to which I offer my condolences, as well as the many wounded, to whom I wish a speedy recovery. I express my solidarity to the American people and its authorities in this terrible ordeal," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

"We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence,"  said Rasha Mubarak, Orlando regional coordinator for Florida's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"Our heart is with our American brothers," read a Tweet from Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.

"Aghast by the ever more dramatic news of the nightclub massacre," read a Tweet from Italy's foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni.

"This morning, I will be marching in the West Hollywood Pride Parade with a heavy heart, but we will march in solidarity with all those who are the victims of terrorism and hatred," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

"Please keep everyone in your prayers as we work through this tragic event. Thank you for your thoughts and love," Pulse Orlando said on its Facebook page.

"This is an incident, as I see it, that we certainly classify as domestic terror incident," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all the victims of this horrific attack in Orlando. I have spoken with the FBI and there appears to be a link to Islamic radicalism. I have conferred with additional sources and they think there is likely a connection with ISIS. So as we all mourn the senseless loss of life and investigators continue to learn more, we must remain vigilant and remember that if you see something, say something," said Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida.

Vice President Joe Biden released the following statement early Sunday evening:

"Last night, at least fifty innocent people gathering to celebrate love and life were brutally killed in an act of pure hate and unspeakable terror. Scores of others were injured in the attack. They were our brothers and our sisters; our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. In the coming days, we will learn more about these fifty souls and the lives they lived and the world they made better.

"As the President made clear, we are closely monitoring and fully involved in the investigation of the country’s worst mass shooting. We are grateful for the heroic actions of the Orlando Police, first responders—and many bystanders—who charged into danger and saved lives; who rushed the wounded to hospitals in ambulances, in police cars, in the backs of pickup trucks, and carried others to safety. As in the midst of so much evil, their acts are a reminder of the best in our common humanity.

"Jill and I offer our prayers and deepest condolences for all those affected by today’s horrific events. But our prayers are not enough to end these kinds of senseless mass shootings. The violence is not normal, and the targeting of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is evil and abhorrent.

"Our law enforcement and intelligence professionals are still gathering the facts, and we do not yet know what, if any, connection or inspiration there may be with terrorist organizations. But we do know this—we will never rest in our relentless campaign to bring to justice all who would do America harm. And even as we grieve and pursue justice, no act of terror—no despicable act of hate—can tear us asunder. Times of unspeakable tragedy and evil like this are the moments to remind the killers, and the world, of what is best in us, and what unites us.

"May God give strength to the families, friends, and all those who grieve today, with broken hearts, but unbound resolve. And may God continue to watch over our great nation."

The email Orlando Police Chief John Mina sent to everyone in the department was posted on Facebook Sunday night. The email said:

"On the darkest day of my 25 years at the Orlando Police Department, I wanted to take a moment to tell all of you how proud I am of the work you have done today and will do over the next days and weeks.

"We have trained again and again for this type of situation. It’s unfortunate that we had to put those skills to use today. But because of that training and your professionalism, we saved dozens of lives this morning.

"Even before the first patrol units arrived on the scene, an OPD officer working extra duty at the club engaged the gunman as he opened fire. Our First Responders and SWAT Team faced a hail of gunfire as they rescued the hostages, and we are blessed beyond words that none of them were gravely injured or killed.

"We’ve received an enormous amount of tactical Law Enforcement support from local, state and Federal agencies. The outpouring we have received from our Central Florida community and Law Enforcement across the nation and the world, has overwhelmed me with gratitude.

"I know that you have all been affected today by the tragic actions of a lone terrorist who cut short the lives of so many. Our community, our City, and our Department will be grieving in the days, weeks and months to come.
But on a day like today – and every day – I couldn’t be more proud to be your Chief.

"Please hug your families tonight. And be safe out there."

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dryer tweeted Sunday night, "Today, our community and nation experienced a horrific crime. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims, their families." Included in the tweet was an extended statement. 

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office posted on Facebook, "Our hearts go out to the families of those hurt in the mass shooting in Orlando. This unthinkable act of terrorism is reprehensible and is now the biggest mass shooting in history. More than 50 people dead, and many more injured. In reading some of the reports, we saw that people inside the club were actively trying to help others escape. We applaud their bravery and are thankful for them. Please join us in praying for Orlando."

Sunday, YWCA USA released the following statement: "We, at YWCA USA, are saddened by the immense tragedy of the Orlando shooting. The loss of life brought about by hatred and discrimination against the LGBTQ community is heartbreaking and unacceptable. It is compounded by reports that the shooter had a history of domestic abuse. As one of the country's largest networks of domestic violence service providers, we keenly understand the danger that guns present to the public at large in the hands of those who have shown a penchant for violence at home. As many of you gather around the country for vigils, we ask that your self-reflection not end today. Rather, learn what you can do to root out discrimination, end violence, and improve the lives of your neighbors.”