“We come here with heavier hearts than normal,” President Obama said at the White House Friday afternoon. The attack in Nice, France on Thursday was a “tragic and appalling attack on the freedom and peace that we cherish.”
“Our hearts are with the people of France and innocent men women and children who were killed in this sickening attack,” he said.
In particular, Obama noted the two Americans who were killed, a father and son from Texas who were on vacation.
“They’re grieving, they need all the love and support of our American family as they grapple with unimaginable loss,” he urged.
Obama said he spoke to French President Francois Hollande and reminded him that France is America’s oldest ally and we “owe our freedom to each other.”
“We will stand united now in our grief,” he said. We pledge to stand with our French friends as we stand against this scourge of terrorism and violence. This is a threat to all of us.”
Obama did inject a bit of politics into his remarks, referencing, without name-calling, Newt Gingrich’s call to screen Muslims in the U.S. and deport them if they follow Sharia law, because it is anathema to American values.
That suggestion, the president said, is “against every thing we stand for as Americans.”
“We cannot let ourselves be divided by religion,” because that’s exactly what they want, Obama argued. “We should never do their work for them.”
“The divide that exists is not between religion or race, he said. “It is between people that recognize common humanity, and those who do not.”
As for how he thinks terrorism should be addressed, the president said we should be focusing on diplomacy and messaging.
We’re going to win this fight, he said, "by building," "by never giving up on diplomacy," "by offering a better vision so young people are less susceptible to extremism and violence," and "by promoting democracy so citizens have a say."
He also, however, said the global coalition against ISIL will work to keep taking out terror leaders. We will “destroy this vile terrorist organization.”