President Obama urged Americans Sunday not to politicize the murder of three police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That’s a big reversal from just nine months ago, where Obama very vocally urged America to “politicize” a shooting at an Oregon community college.
“We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric,” Obama said Sunday during a personal appearance in the White House Briefing Room. “We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. We need to temper our words and open our hearts. All of us.”
Obama said it was critical for both political parties to avoid using any overheated political rhetoric, lest existing divisions in the U.S. be widened rather than bridged.
“Around the clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions,” he said. “That is why it is so important that everyone: regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you’re a part of, everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.”
But Obama’s apolitical response to Baton Rouge was almost a total reversal of his sentiment nine months ago, following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. That shooting killed ten people, and afterwards, Obama went to the Briefing Room and angrily said that mass shootings should be handled very politically.
“This is something we should politicize,” Obama said, while calling for new, tougher gun laws to prevent shootings. “It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic … This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
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