WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are visiting Orlando, Florida, on Thursday to pay tribute to the victims of the deadly nightclub shooting last weekend.
According to the Miami Herald, Obama will "spend the bulk of (Thursday) afternoon" in Orlando to meet with the families of the 49 people killed and 53 injured when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub early Sunday. Officials said he also plans to visit Amway Center for a prayer vigil.
"The president, of course, will also spend some time talking to first responders, to medical professionals – EMTs, nurses, doctors, surgeons – who acted heroically, courageously, and in some cases with disregard for their own safety, to try to save innocent lives," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday. "And their efforts – based on the reporting that we've seen, their efforts were successful. Dozens of lives were saved as a result of this heroic action. And the president wants to thank them for those demonstrations of professionalism and courage and patriotism."
Earnest added, "This will be, I think, an emotional trip. And the president, while he's there, will also have an opportunity to speak publicly about what he sees and also about the message that he's preparing to deliver on behalf of the country to make clear that the country stands with the people of Orlando, stands with the LGBT community in Orlando as they grieve for their loss."
Additional details were not yet available.