‘America Is Not As Divided As People Have Suggested’: President Obama Says U.S. Is United Following ‘Painful Week’

Obama speaks in Poland

President Barack Obama spoke about the “painful week” that the United States has experienced in regards to race and police-related violence. Following the murder of five police officers in Dallas and the questionable deaths of two black men at the hands of police officers, Obama says that Americans are united in “recognizing that this is not how we want our communities to operate.”

Speaking from Warsaw, Poland, at a NATO summit, President Barack Obama spoke to reporters about the recent violence in the United States. According to the New York Post, Obama says that though America appears divided by racial and police tensions, he claims that “America is not as divided as people have suggested.” In fact, Obama says that there is unity in the American population as everyone realizes that this is not what we want as a nation.

“First of all, as painful as this week has been, I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some have suggested. There is sorrow, there is anger, there is confusion about the next steps, but there is a unity in recognizing that this is not how we want our communities to operate. This is not who we want to be as Americans.”

USA Today notes that President Obama will be cutting his trip to Spain down to just one day so that he can return to the United States amid the confusion, anger, and unrest. Although Obama is returning to the states to visit Dallas and express his condolences to the families who lost loved ones, the president is also hoping to unite the country to ensure that incidents like this do not plague the nation.

Obama notes that despite the unrest and anger, he says that as a whole the United States is still united, and in the wake of the terrible tragedies, there have been no riots in the streets or police going after protesters. Instead, he says that the process is working and peaceful protests continue. Police officers are allowing all peaceful assemblies to express their freedom of speech.

“You have not seen riots, and you have not seen police going after people who are protesting peacefully.”

However, following the Dallas police officer shooting, Obama did call for stricter gun control laws by claiming that we can’t stop every madman but we should make it as hard as possible for them to get a hold of a gun.

“By definition, if you shoot people who are no threat to you — strangers — you have a troubled mind. We’re not going to identify and eliminate every madman and troubled individual who might want to do harm against innocent people. But we can make it harder for them to do so.”

U.S. president Barack Obama meets Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Obama went on to claim that the heavy presence of guns in Texas made it more difficult for police officers to do their job as they had to consider everyone with a weapon a threat. He went so far as to tell Second Amendment advocates to “set aside the gun issue and pretend it’s irrelevant” for the sake of police officer safety.

“Imagine if you are a police officer and you’re trying to sort out who is shooting at you, and there are a lot of people who have guns on them. If you care about the safety of our police officers, you can’t set aside the gun issue and pretend it’s irrelevant.”

What do you think about President Barack Obama’s statements that America is not divided but rather united by the recent tragedies in the country? Do you agree with his assessment that the presence of legal gun carriers in Texas made it more difficult for police officers to do their job? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Photo by Alik Keplicz/AP Images]