In a heated impromptu speech Tuesday afternoon, President Obama admonished Donald Trump's response to the Orlando shooting, particularly Trump's renewed call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Speaking offhand following a National Security Council meeting in Washington, the president once again condemned the concept of a ban and denounced the casual Islamophobia preached by Trump, which Obama maintained would accomplish little but alienate potential allies.
"Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, or the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer — they were all U.S. citizens. Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently?" Obama said, referencing other recent mass shootings perpetrated by Muslim Americans. "It makes Muslim Americans feel like their government has betrayed them."
President Obama also touched on the debate surrounding the phrase "radial Islamic terrorism," which he has been criticized by conservatives, including Trump and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz, for not using in the wake of the Orlando shooting. "What exactly would using this label accomplish?" asked the president. "Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction. Not once has an adviser of mine said, 'Man, if we use that phrase, we’re going to turn this whole thing around.'"
Obama also gave an update on the investigation into the Orlando shooting, which has yet to produce evidence of direct involvement from a terrorist group. Despite the Orlando shooter's tenuous, unofficial connection to ISIS and other terrorist organizations, Trump has been particularly vocal in the wake of the Orlando shooting, doubling down on his previously espoused anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric. "We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer," Trump said at a rally at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire on Monday.
Although President Obama was vocal in his rejection of anti-Islamic rhetoric and sentiment, he has yet to propose or indicate any forthcoming legislation in response to the Orlando attack. The national conversation in the wake of the shooting has encompassed several ongoing political debates, including LGBTQ protections, immigration reform, and gun control, but there has not yet been a commitment from leaders in either party to enacting new policy. As American citizens call for change and action from the government to prevent future incidences of gun violence, the government response in the coming weeks should be telling of any true reform to spring from this tragedy.