Yet again making the all-too-familiar trip to console and grieve with victims of a mass shooting in an American community, President Barack Obama will travel to Orlando on Thursday.
The trek has become a sadly frequent one for Obama, whose presidency has coincided with other high-profile mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., Charleston, S.C., and Newtown, Conn.
But Sunday’s slaying of 49 people at a gay nightclub holds special significance as the worst of them all — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
While in Orlando, Obama will visit with families of the dead and the 53 people who were injured. The president also plans to meet with surgeons, doctors and nurses who treated the wounded, and law enforcement officials and first-responders who were on the scene in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Specific details on the visit haven’t been released. But Obama is expected to also attend a prayer vigil at the Amway Center, Orlando officials told the Herald/Times.
Obama wants to offer “comfort and support to a community that’s grieving,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday, adding that he expects it will be “an emotional trip” for the president.
While the visit will be a somber one, it will also be underscored by some recent political tension between Obama and Republican Gov. Rick Scott — despite other public displays of bipartisanship in a time of tragedy.
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Photo credit: Emily Michot / Miami Herald