Obama: There’s No Evidence of a Larger Terrorist Plot Behind the Orlando Attack

The president said that the gunman was inspired by extremist videos posted online.

Pete Marovich/CNP/AP

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, President Barack Obama said that there was no definitive evidence to indicate that the gunman behind Sunday’s mass shooting inside a gay nightclub in Orlando was tied to a larger terrorist network.

“At this stage we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” Obama said. “It does appear that, at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by ISIL.”

The president, who had been briefed by FBI director James Comey, said that the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, was likely inspired by extremist videos on the internet.

“The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant,” he said. “We’re still looking at all the motivations of the killer. But it’s a reminder that regardless of race, religion, faith or sexual orientation, we’re all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act.”

The president’s update on Monday contradicts inflammatory remarks made by Donald Trump in the wake of Sunday’s attack. Since the shooting, the presumptive Republican nominee has used the tragedy to support his plan to completely bar Muslims from entering the country.

Speaking to the morning shows on Monday, Trump also made comments that apparently suggest that the president is sympathetic to terrorist activities, even subtly pushing the birther-conspiracy theory as a reason why Obama refuses to say “radical Islamic terrorism.”


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.