Trump calls Las Vegas shooting an ‘act of pure evil’ – Politico

President Donald Trump is pictured. | AP Photo

President Donald Trump makes a statement Monday about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. | Evan Vucci/AP

At least 50 people were killed in the shooting, which is described as the deadliest in modern American history.

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Updated

2017-10-02T10:31-0400

Update, 10:58 a.m.: President Donald Trump on Monday called the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 50 people and hospitalized more than 400 “an act of pure evil.”

Speaking from the White House, Trump also announced that he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday, when he will meet with first responders, law enforcement officials and the families of victims.

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Original story:
President Donald Trump expressed his “warmest condolences” Monday morning to the victims of a mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip — the deadliest in modern U.S. history — that left more than 50 people dead and sent more than 400 to area hospitals.

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” the president wrote online.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump had been briefed on the mass shooting, and that he would deliver remarks on the tragedy later in the morning.

Law enforcement officials in Las Vegas said the gunman, a white man identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire late Sunday night from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on a music festival during a performance by country star Jason Aldean. Roughly 22,000 people were at the concert, and Paddock’s motivation was not immediately clear.Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo declined at a press conference Monday morning to label the shooting an act of terrorism, telling reporters that more regarding the gunman’s motivations needed to be established before such a characterization could be made.

Authorities cautioned that the death toll from the shooting could still rise. It is the first mass shooting of this scale that Trump will face as president, and will likely test his ability to soothe the country in a moment of national tragedy, especially as he prepares to head to Puerto Rico on Tuesday after having sparked a feud with the San Juan mayor over hurricane relief efforts.

The shooting upended the president’s Monday schedule. Trump canceled an 11 a.m. appearance at a White House summit on rolling back regulations, a White House aide said, instead scheduling remarks on the shooting at 10:30 a.m.

The shooting is also likely to spur renewed calls for gun control, a political challenge for Trump, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and Republicans who control both houses of Congress. Already Monday morning, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), two of the most outspoken lawmakers on the issue in the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, issued statements calling on Congress to take a tougher gun control stance.

The Las Vegas Strip shooting was “particularly despicable,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement issued Monday morning, because it was “carried out during a concert, transforming an evening of music and celebration into a heartbreaking and horrific night of violence.”

“Our nation will never allow fear and violence to bow us or break our spirits,” Pelosi said. “America will never waver in its love and support for the people of Las Vegas and the families of the victims of this attack. May it be a comfort to the loved ones of those killed that all of America mourns with them.”

Blumenthal, in his Monday morning statement, noted that it had been just over a year since a gunman killed 49 people inside a gay nightclub in Orlando, the shooting that had previously been the deadliest in modern U.S. history. He said that Congress’s inaction had left him “more than frustrated, I am furious.”

Murphy used even stronger words.

“It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something,” he said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said online that he was “in our thoughts this morning after the horrific news” and shared a phone number for those trying to locate missing family members and friends in the wake of the shooting.

Nevada politicians responded to the shooting online as well. “A tragic & heinous act of violence has shaken the #Nevada family. Our prayers are w/ the victims & all affected by this act of cowardice,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval wrote online just before 2:30 a.m. PDT Monday morning. Adam Laxalt, Nevada’s Republican attorney general, had been scheduled to announce his candidacy for governor at a kickoff event Monday but instead announced that he would postpone campaign events through next Monday.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) wrote online that he was “thankful for police and first-responders on the scene.”

“Senseless, horrifying act of violence in Las Vegas tonight. Praying for all the victims & those impacted by the tragedy,” Heller wrote on Twitter. “Spoke with Gov. Sandoval and Attorney General Laxalt and will continue to monitor the situation.”

Heller’s colleague, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), said she was “praying for all those affected by this senseless tragedy. Thank you to all the first responders. I will continue to monitor the situation.” She also retweeted a post from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department directing locals interested in donating blood to a location where they could do so.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded in last night’s vicious and senseless attack outside the Mandalay Bay Resort. I thank the first responders for taking down the gunman and working tirelessly to treat the wounded,” Cortez Masto said in a statement released Monday morning. “I am working with the City of Las Vegas and Clark County to ensure that local officials have the resources they need to support our community and investigate these tragic events.”

“I’m monitoring the situation on Las Vegas Blvd. Follow @LVMPD for updates. My thoughts and prayers are with all impacted,” Rep. Dina Titus (R-Nev.), whose district includes the Las Vegas Strip, wrote on Twitter.

“My heart aches for the victims, their loved ones, and our community. I am grateful for law enforcement’s swift response and the many good Samaritans whose selfless acts of bravery showcased Las Vegas’ values to the world,” the congresswoman said in a statement, which she also published on Twitter. “We are a resilient and benevolent town that will not be intimidated by acts of violence. During this difficult time, my office will be working closely with local, state, and federal partners to provide support for Southern Nevada as we heal and move forward.”

Rep. Reuben Kihuen (D-Nev.), whose district spans much of the central portion of Nevada but has its population center located in Clark County, urged Nevadans to comply with instructions from law enforcement as the investigation into “this despicable act of violence” continues to unfold.

“I am grieving and praying for the victims of this horrible shooting and their families,” the congressman said in a statement. “This cowardly attack on innocent people will not define who we are as a city, a state, or a country.”

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