"We stand with you," President Obama told family members of the victims of the Orlando massacre

By Tierney McAfee
Updated June 16, 2016 04:55 PM
Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Orlando on Thursday, where they met with the survivors and the families of victims of the shooting attack that killed 49 people at a popular gay nightclub in the city.

While laying down bouquets of flowers at a local memorial near Pulse, the club where the shooting took place on Sunday, the president said that Orlando was “shaken by an evil, hateful act.” Obama added that he and Biden had met with the families and loved ones touched by the tragedy and that “their grief is beyond description.”

“Our hearts are broken, too,” Obama said he and Biden told the relatives. “We stand with you.”

“Today, once again, as has been true too many times before, I held and hugged grieving family members and friends and they asked why does this keep happening,” the president continued. “They pleaded that we do more to stop” such killings.

Obama and Biden also visited the owners and staff of Pulse Nightclub who were working onsite when the attack occurred. Two members of the Pulse staff were killed in the attack.

“It’s a good time for us to reflect on how we treat each other,” the president said in his remarks. “We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community … They are our family. They’re part of the American family.”

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He also called on the Senate and Congress to do “the right thing” and vote yes to stricter gun control measures.

“We’re all going to have to work together, at every level of government, across political lines, to stop killers who want to terrorize,” he said. “We will continue to be relentless” against terrorist groups.