ORLANDO – President Barack Obama arrived here midday Thursday for private meetings with those affected the Pulse nightclub shootings. Vice President Joe Biden is here as well.
The presidential delegation was greeted by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who presented the president with an “Orlando United” T-shirt. MORE PHOTOS HERE
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio greeted the president as well. After a brief exchange of greetings the presidential motorcade was off.
As the AJC’s Ernie Suggs reported earlier, Scott has been in a tense standoff with Obama. The governor says he wants to rid his state of “radical Islam,” and toughen immigration standards in the wake of Sunday’s terror attack that left 49 people dead.
“It’s evil,” Scott told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m responsible for 20 million people in my state and 100 million tourists. I don’t want radical Islam in my state.”
The president has instead called for a debate on gun control.
“This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or in a movie theater or a night club,” he said shortly after the massacre. “And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country that we want to be. To actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
Obama decried as “yapping” the use of the term “radical Islam” and said it wasn’t productive.
“What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?” he said in a speech. “Would it make ISIS less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.”
Please return for updates.