US Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson has said people should not politicize the Orlando nightclub mass shooting that left at least 50 people dead and 53 others injured on Sunday.
"Thoughts are with the #Orlando victims & a community who has been attacked," Johnson said in a Twitter message on Sunday. "It's a time to mourn, be strong & be what makes America great."
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it is investigating both domestic and international connections to the mass shooting that was reportedly claimed by the Daesh terrorist group.
The suspect in the shooting, identified by US media as an alleged Daesh sympathizer named Omar Mateen, is a US citizen of Afghan descent from Port St. Lucie, Florida. He took hostages at the club and barricaded himself in the complex but was later killed by specially trained SWAT units.
Johnson called on Americans to allow the authorities continue their investigations and to extend their condolences to the victims of the deadly attack.
"In this immediate aftermath of what is clearly a tragic and despicable attack, our thoughts must be with the victims," Johnson said in a separate statement issued on Sunday afternoon.
"Regardless of what the motivation is ultimately found to be, this violence against innocent people simply going about their lives is both cowardly and infuriating. We must allow the authorities to do their jobs, understand how this attack came about, and then respond accordingly. It is not a time to either politicize or jump to conclusions,” he stated.
The remarks come after presumptive Republican presidential nominee used the attack to push ahead with his anti-Muslim rhetoric. Donald Trump said the shooting further proved his xenophobia campaign.
"Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic [sic] terrorism," he said. "I don't want congrats, I want toughness and vigilance. We must be smart!"
Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the United States while campaigning in primary season.
The New York real-estate mogul also called for a database to track Muslims across the United States, and he has also said that the US would have "absolutely no choice" but to close down mosques.
On Sunday afternoon, Trump issued a more strongly-worded statement, attacking President Obama for refusing to attribute the Orlando shooting to "radical Islam".
"In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'radical Islam'. For that reason alone, he should step down," he said.
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