BREAKING NEWS
Politics

Obama: San Bernardino terror victims' families 'could not have been more inspiring'

President Obama said he was inspired after meeting the families of the victims of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

"Despite the pain and the heartache that they’re feeling, they could not have been more inspiring, and more proud of their loved ones, and more insistent that something good comes out of this tragedy," Obama said after meeting with the families Friday night. 

"It was so moving for Michelle and myself, in part, because it was so representative of the country. You had people from every background, every faith," he added. "Some described their loved ones, who had come to this country as immigrants; others who had lived in the area all their lives — all of them extraordinarily proud of the work they were doing to keep people healthy and safe here in this community."

The Obamas landed at San Bernardino International Airport about 7:40 p.m. and met briefly with San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis and county Supervisor James Ramos. They then headed to nearby Indian Springs High School, where they met privately with victims' families and first responders.

The school library had been arranged with 14 tables. The Obamas went from table to table, speaking quietly with each family.

Daniel Kaufman, 42, ran the coffee cart at the Inland Regional Center, and trained the developmentally disabled clients who worked there. His boyfriend, Ryan Reyes, said Obama expressed his grief over the family's loss and offered the sympathies of the government and the nation.

“I could see that they were pained by what had happened,” Reyes said. “Even under the circumstances, I consider it an honor to have met the president.”

Reyes told Obama that he hoped the nation would see an end to the “anti-Muslim sentiment” that has flared up since the shooting. Obama agreed, he said, and told Kaufman's loved ones that he hoped the United States could “work together to eradicate the problems that cause tragedies like these,” Reyes said.

He stopped short of calling it gun control, Reyes said, and did not discuss any specific policies, “perhaps for political reasons.”

The meetings lasted nearly three hours.

The Obamas boarded Air Force One a little after 11:05 p.m.

Here is the full text of the president's comments:

Obama: Hello, everybody. Just had a chance to meet with the families of the majority of the victims of the San Bernardino tragedy. It was so moving for Michelle and myself, in part, because it was so representative of the country. You had people from every background, every faith. Some described their loved ones, who had come to this country as immigrants; others who had lived in the area all their lives — all of them extraordinarily proud of the work they were doing to keep people healthy and safe here in this community.

And as difficult as this time is for them and for this entire community, they’re also representative of the strength and the unity and the love that exists in this community and in this country. And as we go into the holiday season, even as we are vigilant about preventing terrorist attacks from happening, even as we insist that we can’t accept the notion of mass shootings in public places and places of work and worship, we have to remind ourselves of the overwhelming good that exists out there. 

And we met some of these folks. Despite the pain and the heartache that they’re feeling, they could not have been more inspiring, and more proud of their loved ones, and more insistent that something good comes out of this tragedy. And many of them are already taking initiatives to reach out, to speak out on behalf of community and tolerance and treating people with respect. Many were interested in how we can prevent shootings like this from happening in the future. 

It was a reminder of what’s good in this country. And I hope that’s something that gives all Americans a sense of pride and a sense of hope as we go into our celebrations of our faith and our families and our country.

Thank you, everybody.

ALSO

Continuing grim tradition, President Obama, first lady meet families of San Bernardino shooting victims

Memorial services scheduled Saturday for victims of San Bernardino massacre

Scrutiny of Tashfeen Malik's fiancee visa fell short, congressional investigators say

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
72°