White House

Obama reprises ‘consoler-in-chief’ role in San Bernardino

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va., on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. The president said U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism professionals don’t have any specific, credible information suggesting a terrorist attack on the U.S. during the holidays. Joining him, from left are, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Office of National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
President Barack Obama speaks at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va., on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. The president said U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism professionals don’t have any specific, credible information suggesting a terrorist attack on the U.S. during the holidays. Joining him, from left are, National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Office of National Intelligence Director James Clapper. AP

President Obama will travel to San Bernardino, California, late Friday to meet privately with the families of those killed in this month’s terrorist attack.

A husband and wife team of shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people Dec. 2 at a holiday party.

Obama’s visit will be similar to one he took to Roseburg, Oregon, in October when he met for about an hour with families of victims of a shooting at a community college there, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said this week.

In recent years, the president has visited sites of other mass shootings, including Charleston, South Carolina, and Newtown, Connecticut.

“It is very moving to see that President Obama is taking the time to visit privately with victim families of the San Bernardino shooting,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. “Hundreds of lives have been forever turned upside down because two dangerous people were able to get guns.”

Obama’s visit will take place as the FBI is still investigating the shooting. On Thursday, one of the shooters’ neighbors was charged with providing material support to Farook and Malik.

“I would not anticipate that a visit by the president just for a couple of hours to that community to console the families of the victims of that attack would have any impact on the pace or success of the ongoing investigation,” Earnest said.

Obama is expected to announce new executive actions on gun control in the coming weeks. Republicans and some Democrats on Capitol Hill are opposed to any new laws.

Obama will be accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama. Afterward, the Obamas and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, will travel to Hawaii for the family’s annual vacation.

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