Obama wipes his eye as he speaks Friday following the shooting in a Connecticut elementary school.
Wiping away tears, President Barack Obama on Friday lamented the school shooting massacre in Newtown, Conn., calling for “action” to prevent future tragedies after a series of gun massacres on his watch.
“As a country we have been through this too many times. ... We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics,” Obama said in a statement in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House.
Obama said that after such a tragedy, he first reacts as a parent.
“That was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” he said, pausing for several seconds and wiping a tear from his eye.
“They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”
Obama vowed to do everything he can as president to help the families but acknowledged that no words would suffice.
Earlier Friday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had said today was not the day to discuss policy options and gun control in the wake of the shooting, but Obama’s remark about “action” seemed to turn a new chapter in the president’s mindset on the issue.
He effectively abandoned any effort to enact gun control in his first term, and after the Aurora, Colo., shootings earlier this year, Carney said the president was focused on enforcing “existing law.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.