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Politicians express outrage over Orlando shooting as Trump blasts 'political correctness'

Presidential candidates and politicians from across the political spectrum Sunday denounced the worst mass shooting ever executed on U.S. soil, which left at least 50 people dead on Sunday, joining President Barack Obama in expressing both shock and outrage.

The attack, which happened in the wee hours of the night in Orlando, Fla., is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism. It began when a gunman stormed the Pulse Nightclub, popular in the gay and lesbian community, about 2 a.m. with an AR-15 type rifle and a handgun, officials told NBC News.

Though Muslim leaders and the shooter's family have rejected any religious connection to the attacks, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump called for Obama to address "radical Islamic terrorism." Urging Obama to step down, Trump demanded an end to "politically correct" thinking, insisting it played a role in the massacre.

The attack sparked a broad online debate, with political figures drawing familiar battle lines on gun control and terrorism.

"Although it is still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror, and an act of hate," Obama said in a speech Sunday. "And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage and in resolve to defend our people."

Obama also made a call for "common sense" gun control policies, echoing a refrain he's made in the aftermath of previous shootings.

However, Trump reiterated his call for a "complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the U.S., which drew widespread condemnation — even from within his own party.

In a statement, Trump blasted both Obama and Hillary Clinton, Obama's former Democratic rival who is now running to succeed him.

"In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words 'radical Islam,'" Trump said in his statement. "For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words 'radical Islam,' she should get out of this race for the presidency," he added, taking aim at his Democratic challenger.

He added: "If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen — and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can't afford to be politically correct anymore."


"...We have got to do everything we can to on top of that to make sure guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them." -Bernie Sanders, Democratic presidential contender

On the other side of the aisle, former Secretary of State Clinton simply offered condolences on Twitter.


Clinton went on to call for the U.S. to harden its defenses, both international and domestic, in a statement.


Rival Democrat Bernie Sanders, focused on the issue of gun control speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press."

"It's horrific, it's unthinkable," Sanders told the program.

"My hopes go out to all those who were shot that they can recover. And I've got to tell you, 25 years ago I believed that in this country we should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people," the Vermont senator said.

"And we have got to do everything we can ... on top of that to make sure guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them: criminals, or people who are mentally ill. So that struggle continues."

Sanders, who is still battling with Clinton for the Democratic nomination, later said in a statement that "at this point we do not know whether this was an act of terrorism, a terrible hate crime against gay people or the act of a very sick person, but we extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims' families and loved ones and our thoughts are with the injured and the entire Orlando LGBTQ community."

Other politicians also focused on gay rights, including California representative Adam Schiff.


Politicians across the world also reached out to express solidarity and support, including French President Francois Hollande, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and England's Queen Elizabeth.


Meanwhile, local politicians took a more targeted approach.

Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio raised awareness about blood donations on his Twitter page, while fellow Republican governor Rick Scott declared an a state of emergency.


The shooting comes less than two weeks after a national gun violence prevention campaign.