When Is Obama Going To Dallas? The President Will Cut His European Trip Short

President Obama had barely finished addressing the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile when, during an otherwise-peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas, a sniper shot and killed five police officers and injured several others. The president is currently in Europe, but now he has decided to cut that trip short: Obama will go to Dallas early next week at the invitation of Mike Rawlings, the city’s mayor, to address racial discord and police violence, according to the White House.

Obama arrived in Warsaw on Thursday to meet with NATO allies, and spoke about the killings of Sterling and Castile while still in Poland. News of the Dallas shooting broke not long thereafter. The president had been planning on visiting troops and sightseeing in southern Spain over the next couple of days; however, he’s now going to skip that and fly back to Washington on Sunday night, a day earlier than planned.

It’s unclear exactly when Obama will touch down in Dallas — the White House said only that he’ll make his way to the Lone Star State “early next week.” During his time there, the president will “work to bring people together to support our police officers and communities, and find common ground by discussing policy ideas for addressing the persistent racial disparities in our criminal justice system,” according to the White House’s statement.

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It was by no means a given that Obama would cut his European visit short on account of the Dallas shooting. When Brussels was hit with multiple terror attacks earlier in the year, the president was in Cuba. However, he decided not to return to the U.S. early on account of the attacks, and instead attended a baseball game in Havana.

“The whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people's ordinary lives," the president said at the time in defense of his decision.

Of course, there are many differences between the attacks in Brussels and the shooting in Dallas, the most obvious being that the shooting occurred on American soil. Whether or not this is why Obama opted to come back is unclear, and so is the precise nature of what he intends to do in Dallas. But he clearly believed that the assault was significant enough to warrant an in-person visit to the scene of the crime.

“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” Obama said of attack. “Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done."