Making a statement at the White House, Obama said that “we are still learning all of the facts,” and “we have received no definitive on precise motivations of the actions of the killer.”
“As Americans we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to protect our people,” he said.
At least 50 people were killed and 53 wounded in the attack on the Pulse nightclub early on Sunday morning, authorities said. The gunman reportedly expressed his fealty to the Islamic state in a 911 call at one point immediately before or during the attack.
He said that the attack “could have been any one of our communities,” but said that it was an “especially heartbreaking day” for the LGBT community.
The shooter appears to have targeted the nightclub because it caters to the LGBT community.
“The place where they 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,” Obama said.
He said that the attack marks “the most deadly shooting in American history.”
He ordered flags flown at half mast at the White House and all public buildings and grounds.
He also said that the “massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
He said that he had been briefed by homeland security and counterterrorism advisers, as well as the FBI and he chatted with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another,” he said.