Pope Francis Joins Obama, Others in Chorus of Condemnation Against Orlando Attack
Pope Francis on Sunday joined a chorus of condemnation after a shooter killed at least 50 people in a Florida gay bar in the early morning hours.
The pope called the attack at Orlando's Pulse nightclub an example of "homicidal folly and senseless hatred."
"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," the pope said in a Holy See statement just as President Barack Obama gave brief remarks on what's being dubbed the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The president called the attack a terrorist act and an act of hate.
“The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends to dance and to sing and to live,” Obama said. “The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights.”
Police believe Omar Mateen first opened fire in the Pulse parking lot before a police officer engaged him. It then became a hostage situation inside the bar.
With an AR-15 style assault rifle, authorities believe Mateen mowed down dozens of people in the crowded club before police shot him dead.
Mateen's father believes his son was motivated to kill after seeing men kiss each other during a trip to Miami. Authorities have also suggested Mateen harbored ISIS sympathies.
Leaders and political candidates from coast to coast have spoken out against the attack.
Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton posted a statement on the attack to her website.
"The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: please know that you have millions of allies across our country," she said. "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."
Meanwhile, Donald Trump took the opportunity of Obama's statement to criticize the president.
As Obama began his remarks, Trump tweeted:
Trump tweeted as Obama began speaking: "Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't he should immediately resign in disgrace!"