President Joe Biden met Tuesday with the families of the victims of the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting and called the attack “domestic terrorism.”
Biden, alongside First Lady Jill Biden, left flowers at the supermarket’s memorial upon arriving in Buffalo, New York. Eighteen-year-old Payton S. Gendron, the suspected gunman, is accused of live-steaming the Saturday attack that injured three and killed 10. (RELATED: Police Say Buffalo Shooter Investigated Previously For Earlier Threat)
After privately meeting with the families of victims, law enforcement, first responders and community leaders, Biden took the stage at the Delavan Grider Community Center to deliver remarks to the nation.
The president opened by honoring each victim of the massacre before issuing a sharp condemnation of white supremacy and the idea that “one group of people” is “inherently inferior to any other group.”
“What happened here is simple and straightforward: terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism,” Biden declared. “Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group.”
“The hate that through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be ‘replaced’ — that’s the word, replaced — by the other. By people who don’t look like them and who are therefore, in the perverse ideology that they possess and are being fed, lesser beings,” he continued, reiterating the administration’s recent comments about “replacement theory.”
The suspected gunman discussed this theory in his manifesto, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Biden promised that “hate will not prevail” and noted that the gunman carried out the attack “in the name of hateful and perverse ideology rooted in fear and racism.”
“Evil did come to Buffalo. It has come to all too many places,” the president said, highlighting that lives were “cut short in a grocery store.”
Biden began wrapping up his remarks by declaring that the “American experiment in democracy is in danger” and calling on the country to “keep assault weapons off our streets.”
“Look, I’m not naive,” the president said at one point. “I know tragedy will come again. It cannot be forever overcome. It cannot be fully understood. But there are certain things we can do.”
“We can’t prevent people from being radicalized to violence, but we can address the relentless exploitation of the internet to recur and mobilize terrorism. We just need to have the courage to do that, to stand up,” he added.