Biden Adviser: President's Trip to Buffalo 'About Conveying Condolences'

Susan Jones | May 17, 2022 | 7:50am EDT
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( - "I think the day as a whole will be about conveying condolences," Deputy Homeland Security Adviser Josh Geltzer said on Tuesday, as he previewed President Biden's trip to Buffalo, where a young white man opened fire on mostly black grocery shoppers on Saturday.

The president and his wife Jill will spend a little over four hours consoling relatives of those killed in the targeted, racially-motivated shooting that killed ten people and injured three. Police arrested the suspected killer.

"A community appears to have been deliberately targeted, as too many communities have been, by this type of violence," Geltzer told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"Of course, we have policy work we continue to do to address the intersection of the issues you've mentioned -- domestic terrorism, hate crimes, firearms. But today, I think the focus will be on bringing what comfort the president can to those who are grieving."

Geltzer said President Biden has "done what he can" through executive action to address gun control.

"But we also recognize that there is a connection between firearms and other issues that this administration has tackled head-on. That includes hate crimes. That includes domestic terrorism, where the widespread availability of certain types of weapons can make an attack like Saturday's attack more lethal, more deadly, more possible in the first place."

In a statement on Saturday, President Biden condemned the "horrific shooting," and he praised the bravery of first responders.

"A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism."

As some leftist pundits on cable television blame a rival conservative-leaning network for promoting racist "conspiracy theories," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday refused to name names -- even when the reporter did.

The reporter asked Jean-Pierre: "But on this notion that immigrants and others are believed to be, by some, taking over and pushing white people out of positions of authority in this country, which is at the heart of so much of this terror that is being spewed online, does the White House believe these views are being amplified by Tucker Carlson?"

"Look, you know, like I said, we are still figuring out the motivation of all of this," Jean-Pierre responded. "And we are very clear — look, you know, as you all know, watching what happened in Charlottesville was a major factor in the President deciding to run — right? — and back in 2017. 

"You know, many of those dark voices still exist today, and the President is -- is determined, as he was back then. And he is determined today to make sure that we fight back against those forces of hate and evil and of — and violence. So that’s what we’re going to keep doing.  That’s what we’re going to continue to call out. But we reject hatred and extremism ideologies.

The reporter followed up, asking, "are there elected officials that this administration views as threatening in this way?"

"Yeah, it’s the — what we’re going to continue to do — anyone — any one person — right? — doesn’t matter who they are, who spews this type of hate — hatred, we are going to — we’re going to call out," Jean-Pierre said. "We’re going to condemn that. I’m not going to speak or call out any individual names.  I’m saying that this is something that we need to call out.

"And so this is what the President has been doing and will continue to do that. You saw him say that in his statement over the weekend. And that’s — you know, now he’s going to go to Buffalo and visit with the victims that were affected by this violence that we saw on Saturday," Jean-Pierre said.

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