Q Mr. President, what was your message to the families? What was your message to the families?
THE PRESIDENT: What was the question?
Q What was your message to the families, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: My message was: They’re going to be in pain for a long while. But they will get to the point where something — they’ll open a closet door or they’ll ride by a park or they’ll eat their favorite ice cream, and they’ll think of the person they lost and they’ll smile before they cry. And that’s when they know you’re going to make it. Until then, you’re not sure. But it will happen. It’ll come.
Q Mr. President, do you believe that certain members of Congress, the Republican Party, as well as Tucker Carlson, who have echoed the replacement theory, deserve some blame for violent acts like this?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t think anybody who echoes a replacement is to blame — not for this particular crime. But it’s for no purpose — no purpose except for profit and/or political benefit. And it’s wrong. It’s just simply wrong.
Q What more can you do on guns via executive action?
THE PRESIDENT: Not much on executive action. I’ve got to convince the Congress that we should go back to what I passed years ago.
I mean —
Q How are you doing that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m going to try. I’m going to try.
Q What’s your — what is your thoughts about next steps in Congress? Do you think there’s an opportunity or a prospect for more movement there?
THE PRESIDENT: The answer is going to be very difficult. It’s going to be very difficult. But I’m not going to give up trying.
Q Mr. President, is it time for a domestic terrorism statute?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have enough laws on the books to deal with what’s going on now. We just have to — we have to deal with it.
Look, part of what the country has to do is look in the mirror and face the reality. We have a problem with domestic terror. It’s real.
I know you don’t want to hear me — not you. People don’t want to hear me saying it. They say, “Well, he’s the President. He’s a Democrat. He’s…” But that’s what the intelligence community has been saying; that’s what the military has been saying for a long time. There’s nothing we can do about this. Nothing to do about this.
And, look, there is a lot of people, like this murderer who committed this act, who are just deranged, who are susceptible, who are — who are just lost and don’t know what to do, and they’re easily taken — they’re easily sucked in. And it’s got to stop. We have to admit it. I don’t know why we don’t admit what the hell is going on.
Anyway, thank you very much. We’ll get on the plane.
1:00 P.M. EDT