Quantcast
Connect with us

Obama to console grieving families in Orlando

Published

on

President Barack Obama will offer his support to grieving relatives when he visits Orlando Thursday in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub.

Obama, traveling with Vice President Joe Biden, will offer his condolences to the families of 49 people killed in Sunday’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub in the central Florida city. Another 53 people were wounded.

ADVERTISEMENT

The White House said Obama will also meet with emergency medical crews and hospital staff who worked tirelessly to save lives in the chaotic hours after the massacre by gunman Omar Mateen, who was killed when police stormed the club.

Mateen, a Muslim American of Afghan origin, in a 911 call during the attack pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group.

IS then claimed responsibility for the shooting, the worst in modern US history. FBI agents believe that Mateen was radicalized by following extremist propaganda online.

However witnesses also say Mateen was a regular at the gay club and used gay dating apps.

“This will be, I think, an emotional trip,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Separately Orlando is reeling from the murder last week of a young female singer who competed on TV reality show “The Voice,” and the death Wednesday of a toddler in an alligator attack at a Disney resort hotel.

– Threats against Muslims –

US authorities have warned that threats against Muslims would not be tolerated, and could be prosecuted, after alleged incidents following the massacre.

“Civil rights violations are a priority for the FBI,” assistant special agent Ron Hopper told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We will investigate reported incidents against individuals based upon any class, any protected class, to include race, religion, and sexual orientation.”

In most cases, making these threats “is illegal,” said US attorney Lee Bentley. “Any threats like this detract from what we’re doing in law enforcement.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Members of the small Muslim community in Mateen’s hometown of Fort Pierce say they have endured profanity-laced taunts and even death threats in recent days.

– Grief counseling –

As Orlando prepares to receive Obama, the process of saying goodbye to the dead began.

The first wake was held Wednesday for a 40-year-old man named Javier Jorge Reyes. More wakes and funerals are expected in coming days.

ADVERTISEMENT

A new family assistance center opened in Orlando Wednesday in a part of the stadium once known as the Citrus Bowl.

Sarita Figueroa, the director of readjustment counseling services for the Department of Veterans Affairs, explained that her personnel were helping those in need of trauma and grief counseling.

“This is for the community,” Figueroa told AFP, adding that counselors had come from across the country.

For relatives of the dead, the aftermath is “very difficult. It’s too fresh,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Some are still getting belongings from that night that were on the floor. Glasses, watches, a wallet… You receive the news that you lost someone, and then you receive the note that you need to go and pick up things. That’s another process.”

– What did the wife know? –

Mateen’s motives for carrying out the slaughter remain unclear.

“He appears to have been an angry, disturbed, unstable young man who became radicalized,” said Obama.

US media outlets, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported that Mateen’s 30-year-old wife Noor may have had prior knowledge of her husband’s plan and could face criminal charges.

ADVERTISEMENT

CNN said Wednesday that federal prosecutors planned to present evidence to a grand jury, including that she accompanied Mateen to the gun store and the club on what may have been a mission to plan the attack.

The woman claims she tried to talk her husband out of the attack and did not know of a specific plot, CNN said, citing unnamed law enforcement officials.

On Wednesday, authorities refused to comment on their talks with her.

“With respect to the wife, I can tell you that is only one of many interviews we have done and will continue to do in this investigation,” Hopper said.

Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, has said he used to beat her.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

So long, Steve King: 9-term white supremacist GOP congressman from Iowa loses primary

Published

on

U.S. Congressman Steve King, a nine-term Republican of Iowa, has just lost his primary to a GOP challenger. It's a huge fall from grace: In 2014 The Des Moines Register labeled the former earth-moving company founder a "presidential kingmaker."

But his racist, white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic, biphobic remarks and disturbing ties to far right radical European politicians – including one he endorsed who has ties to a neo-Nazi, finally caught up with him.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

When the president’s son-in-law truly was a great success

Published

on

For many Americans, the idea of the president tasking his son-in-law with solving national, even international, crises, seems problematic, if not absurd. But it happened once before and turned out to be the kind of “great success story” our current first family wants us to believe in again. Slightly over a century ago, as the US mobilized for the First World War, the nation faced devastating breakdowns of its financial and transport systems. In response, President Woodrow Wilson leaned heavily on his talented and experienced Treasury Secretary, William McAdoo, who just happened to be his son-in-law. Looking back at this episode tells us a lot about what makes for successful emergency management at the highest levels of government.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Here are 7 ways Donald Trump is just like Henry Ford — and why that’s not good for American democracy

Published

on

On May 21, speaking at the Ford Motor Company’s Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Donald Trump paid his latest homage to Henry Ford, lauding the family’s “good bloodlines” with Ford’s great grandson sitting in the front row.

Ford, like Trump, was obsessed with bloodlines—with the idea that race and genetic origins determined who counted as the “best people.”

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image