In the wake of unspeakable tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting, people find solace and wisdom in the words of their leaders. On Sunday night, in the middle of a set by country music singer Jason Aldean, 64-year-old shooter Stephen Paddock rained down bullets on 22,000 people attending an outdoor music festival, killing at least 58 people, and injuring hundreds. On Monday morning, everyone from President Trump, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton to shooting survivors Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise spoke out against the violence.
President Trump: ‘An Act of Pure Evil’
Early Monday morning, President Trump tweeted a brief statement about the shooting:
Later that day, the president forcefully condemned the violence in a prepared statement that also praised first responders who reacted to what he called “an act of pure evil.”
“The speed with which they acted was miraculous,” said the president. “It shows what true professionalism is all about.” Trump also said that he will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with law enforcement, first responders, and the families of the victims.
Later in the day, the president and his wife Melania led the nation in a moment of silence.
Barack Obama: ‘Another Senseless Tragedy’
Former President Obama took to Twitter early Monday morning to comment on the Las Vegas shooting. “Our thoughts are with their families and everyone enduring another senseless tragedy,” he wrote. Obama also tweeted that he and his wife Michelle were praying for the victims.
Hillary Clinton: ‘Stop This From Happening Again’
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was more pragmatic in her response to the shooting, using Twitter to communicate her stance on standing up to the National Rifle Association (NRA) in a string of tweets. “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get,” wrote the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. “We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA and work together to try to stop this from happening again.”
Steve Scalise: ‘Respond With Countless Acts of Kindness’
Just days after returning to Congress after being critically wounded by a gunshot in June, Steve Scalise (R-LA) released a statement saying, “In the face of unspeakable evil, our whole nation must respond with countless acts of kindness, warmth and generosity.” Scalise recommended Americans “stand together in solidarity, and to support the Las Vegas community and all of those affected, especially by giving blood and encouraging others to do the same.”
Hours before the shooting, Scalise had appeared on 60 Minutes saying that both Republicans and Democrats could find common ground on gun control. “Ultimately, on some of these issues, we’re not that far apart,” he said.
Gabby Giffords: ‘A Grave Tragedy for Our Nation’
Vocal opponent of gun violence, former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords appeared on Facebook Live, saying “The massacre in Las Vegas is a grave tragedy for our nation. This must stop—we must stop this.” Appearing alongside her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords has been an outspoken advocate for gun control after surviving a 2011 gunshot to the head.
Joe Biden: ‘Enough.’
Former Vice President Joe Biden also reacted on Twitter, echoing the sentiment of many who were shocked by the news. “How long do we let gun violence tear families apart?” asked Biden. “Enough.”