Political, Religious Leaders Respond To Orlando Shooting, Mourn Victims Of Terror Attack

Political leaders across the country have responded to the early-morning shooting in Orlando throughout the day Sunday, according to multiple media reports.

Current and former presidential candidates have had the loudest voices in response to the Orlando shooting. The responses to the deadliest mass shooting on American soil differ in tone, falling mostly along partly lines. Republican leaders have called the shooter “radicalized” while Democrats have stayed away from the label.

Both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz called upon President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to call out the shooter as part of radical Islam. Donald Trump — the presumptive Republican nominee — has called the current leadership in Washington “weak” in one of a series of tweets about the Orlando shooting.

Donald Trump later released a statement calling for President Barack Obama to resign after not calling the Orlando shooting a radical Islamic terror attack, according to The Hill blog. “In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam,'” the statement read. “For that reason alone, he should step down.”

Ted Cruz — the former GOP presidential candidate — also called out Democrats for not labeling the attacker as radicalized as part of his lengthy statement about the Orlando shooting, according to a report on Business Insider.

“Democrats will try to use this attack to change the subject. As a matter of rigid ideology, far too many Democrats — from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton — will refuse to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’

Former GOP candidate Marco Rubio — a U.S. Senator from Florida — tweeted his condolences early this morning for individuals involved in the Orlando shooting. Later, the political leader told CNN a radicalized shooter could be behind the attack because of their beliefs.

“If in fact this terrorist attack is one inspired by radical Islamic ideology, it is quite frankly not surprising that they would target this community in this horrifying way, and I think it’s something we’ll have to talk about some more here, across the country… common sense tells you he specifically targeted the gay community because of the views that exist in the radical Islamic community with regard to the gay community.”

Hillary Clinton has called the Orlando shooting “an act of terror” — as have all Democrats thus far — on her Facebook post condemning the attack. Her message also spoke directly to the gay community that was targeted in the Orlando shooting.

“This was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. 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.”

Bernie Sanders — the Democratic candidate for president that is currently running against Hillary Clinton — went one step further. According to Politicus USA, the U.S. Senator for Vermont called for a ban on automatic weapons like the one used in the Orlando nightclub shooting.

“It’s horrific. It’s unthinkable, and just hopes go out to those who were shot that they can recover, and I’ve got to tell you for twenty-five years now, I’ve believed that we should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people, and we’ve got to do everything we can on top of that to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them. Criminals and people who are mentally ill, so that struggle continues.”

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Religious leaders have also responded to the Orlando shooting, providing a different voice to console individuals during this tragic time. Imam Muhammad Musri — the President of American Islam and the Islamic Society of Central Florida — has condemned the Orlando shooting, asking Americans to focus their grief on the tragedy instead of the religious affiliation of the shooter.

“I want to also caution many in the media from rushing to judgement and from sensationalizing the story because we do not want the story to be shifted from the focus of what it is; it’s a horrible tragedy. We are mourning, we are sad. We are heartbroken. It’s not really time for any sensational news and rushing to judgement. We should all wait til information, facts come out from the investigators. We will all see what happened, understand it, and stay together.”

The Pope also responded to the attacks, according another media report. “The Vatican said Pope Francis expressed the ‘deepest feelings of horror and condemnation,'” the article explained. “The pope denounced the ‘homicidal folly and senseless hatred,’ said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman. Francis also offered ‘prayer and compassion’ to those affected by the attacks.”

Despite their differences in tones, all responses of condemned the act of terror. Thus far, reports about the Orlando shooting have confirmed 50 people perished in the attacks with another 53 injured.

What message of sympathy would you convey to the Orlando shooting survivors or their family? Leave your condolences in the comment section below.

[Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images]