WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in on the Orlando terrorist attack today as “an act that obviously was — is profoundly filled with hate as well as a desire to sow terror in people.”
Appearing with the Cypriot foreign minister at the State Department today, Kerry called the attack in which Omar Mateen killed at least 49 people “horrific in every — every sense of the meaning of that word.”
“Everyone has spoken to the strength of Orlando, and I have no doubt that the citizens of Orlando, as its papers declared today very clearly, will get through this,” he said. “But all of us will continue in every way possible here at the State Department where we are deeply engaged every single day in this fight against ISIL.”
“We will continue to stand up for our values, which are the antithesis of what drove yesterday’s horrible events. We try to undo hate, and we try to show the value of people coming together working through differences and I think are profoundly driven by a sense of love for other people.”
Kerry added that “the worst thing you can do is engage in trying to point fingers at one group or one form of sectarianism or another or one division or another.”
“Those are not the values of our country. What we need to do is to bring people together and work to forever prevent this kind of hate and terror from playing out as it has so horribly in the last day,” he said.
“So we here at the department are going to continue in every way that we already are to fight against ISIL and any other terrorist group in the world that seeks to impose its will or carry out its hateful ideology against other people. And I’m proud of the actions of this department as we continue to do that.”
Kerry is scheduled to break the Ramadan fast at an iftar dinner with visiting Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman this evening.
“Their discussion is obviously going to touch on the full range of bilateral and regional issues, including counterterrorism, of course, as well as the situation in Yemen,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters today.
Mateen reportedly made the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012; Toner said he could “certainly imagine that — this will come up to some extent” in the conversations between Kerry and the prince.