Democratic presidential candidates weigh in on Pulse shooting anniversary

By: - June 12, 2019 3:08 pm

Most of the Democrats running for president noted that Wednesday marked the third anniversary of Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub mass shooting – where 49 people were killed – and used it as an opportunity to outline their policies if elected.

Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in a written statement that the Pulse shooting wasn’t an attack on just one community, but an attack on LGBTQ Americans, Latinx Americans and Black Americans.

“It was an attack on people who look like me, and an attack on people who look nothing like me. It was an attack on all of us. It was an attack on individuals expressing their sexuality, their heritage, their gender, and their freedom.”

The Beto O’Rourke campaign issued a written statement saying that O’Rourke “honors” the Pulse victims by unveiling his plan to protect LGBTQ rights and secure comprehensive legal protections for the community.

The former Texas Congressman says he’d use his executive authority to reverse the Trump administration’s moves when it comes to transgender people.

The U.S. Health & Human Services Department rolled back health-care protections for transgender people last month by ending an Obama-era policy that prohibited health providers from discriminating against patients based on their gender identity.

Maryland Congressman John Delaney wrote, “Today, we remember those victims and their loved ones, and stand strong in support of the LGBTQ+ community.”

The majority of candidates took the grim anniversary as an opportunity  to focus on reducing gun violence.

“When 49 people were murdered at Pulse three years ago, it was an attack on our LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities,” said Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Twitter. “Today I’m remembering the victims and their loved ones, and I promise to #HonorThemWithAction by continuing for fight for #GunReformNow.”

California Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, “Today we remember the 49 lives – mostly Latinx and LGBTQ+ – cut short from hate and gun violence three years ago. In their memory, let’s act to prevent the next heartbreak.”

“As president, I will end the NRA’s reign & pass gun safety policy to save lives,” tweeted New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. “We can – and we will – build a nation built on love & respect for one another.”

“We must act to end these tragedies, and prevent those that would harm LGBTQ individuals from obtaining firearms,” said former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

“We recommit ourselves to ending senseless acts of gun violence with action. #Enough is Enough,” tweeted Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan.

San Francisco Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell has made gun safety a key part of his policy platform. On his social media sites, Swalwell posted a video of himself, O’Rourke and California Congressman Scott Peters who were part of a bigger group of House Democrats who made a day-long public protest on the House floor over gun control days after the Pulse attack.

“Today, the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities are in my heart. Three years after #Pulse, we remember the 49 people taken too soon and #HonorThemWithAction,” wrote Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Every day, but especially today, we must recommit ourselves to ending gun violence in America.”

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.