Everything lawmakers said (and didn’t say) after the Orlando mass shooting


Sometimes, condolences come with talking points.

Soon after the news broke June 12 that a gunman had killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, members of Congress began issuing statements about the tragedy.

Some were simple expressions of outrage, sadness or solidarity; others were carefully crafted to make a case for a particular viewpoint. Either way, Republicans and Democrats tended to say, or not say, different things.

[Trump and Clinton and their very different responses to the Orlando shootings]

Social media allowed us to watch the evolution of some lawmakers’ responses. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) first tweeted a simple reaction of shock and sympathy, then as hours passed, clearly became angrier: “I will not attend one more ‘Moment of Silence’ on the Floor. Our silence does not honor the victims, it mocks them.” The next day he and a handful of fellow Democrats walked out in protest during the moment of silence on the House floor.

How many lawmakers spoke about different topics


& prayers”


LGBT community













Used phrases similar

to “radical Islam”

Praised first









gun control

Stated support

for gun rights

Criticized Obama








Highlight lawmakers from your state in this story: 

A few members of Congress, such as Rep. Brian Babin (R-Tex.), chose to address immigration, even though this shooter was born in New York: “It’s time we put political correctness aside and end the President's rush to admit 10,000 poorly screened Syrian refugees before he leaves office.”

Below are statements put out by lawmakers about the shooting. Many are official statements, but in the absence of something formal, we used the first mention of the event that appeared on a lawmaker’s Facebook page or Twitter feed. Out of 535 members of Congress and six nonvoting delegates, several dozen had made no mention of the shooting on social media or their official websites as of late Wednesday.

[Jim Himes: Why I walked out of the House's moment of silence]

‘Thoughts and prayers’

 Click a phrase to read lawmaker's full statement

Mentioned thoughts and/or prayers

House 94 165
Senate 20 34
114 199
My prayers go out to the victimsMy thoughts and prayersMy thoughts & prayersthoughts and prayers are with the familiesMy prayers, and the prayers of all ArkansansPlease join me in praying for those fighting for their liveswe pray for the victimsare praying for the wounded.I pray that all those injured have a quick and full recovery.My thoughts and prayersoffer my prayers topraying for those who were injuredsend our thoughts and prayerspraising up prayerspray for our nationMy thoughts are withMy thoughts and deepest condolencesOur thoughts and prayers go out to the victimspray for those who were injuredOur prayersthoughts and prayersin our thoughts and prayerssend our thoughts and prayersThe nation's prayerspraying for the victimsWe offer support and prayerspraying for Orlandoall those affected remain in my thoughts and prayersprayers and heartfelt sympathies to the familiesWe're praying for them.thoughts and prayersthoughts and prayerspray for OrlandoPraying for the victims and their familiesthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersOur hearts and prayersI continue to prayMy prayers areprayersPrayersI’m praying for all those impactedprayingthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersPraying for their loved ones & the communityPrayingPrayers for victims & familiesprayers are with their familieslift them up in prayerthoughts and heartfelt prayersthoughts and prayersPls offer prayersthoughts and prayersPraying for the Orlando communitythoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayerspraying for the victims and their familiesMy thoughts and prayersgo to the victims of the terror attack in #Orlando, their families &the first responders.My deepest prayersshare our deepest sympathies and prayersMy thoughts and prayers‘thoughts and prayers’My thoughts and prayersMy thoughtsPraying for#prayfororlandoMy prayers are with the people of OrlandoMy thoughts and prayersMy prayersMy thoughts and prayersPraying forMy prayerslet's all pray forMy thoughts and prayersThoughtsprayersour prayersOur prayersMy thoughtsWe are praying forOur thoughts and prayersMy thoughts, prayersmy prayersprayersMy thoughts are with the families and those affected in FL.I am praying forPraying forlease join me in prayingMy heart and prayersI send my prayers toPrayers for the peoplesending your thoughts, prayers, and condolencesOur thoughts and prayersMy thoughts and prayersI'm praying for them and their loved ones.Our thoughts and prayers go outMy prayers and love are with all affected by this tragedy.My thoughts and prayers continue to be withkeep all their families and loved ones in our thoughts and prayersMy thoughts and prayers areMy thoughts and prayers go out toMy thoughts and prayers are withOur prayers are with their loved onesOur neighbors in Orlando remain in our thoughts and prayers.to join me in prayer for the victims and their familiesOur thoughts and prayers areMy thoughts and prayers go out toMy thoughts and prayers are withOur prayers are withstand united in prayer with our nation at this most difficult timeI offer sympathy, prayers and strength.sending my thoughts and deepest condolencesMy thoughts and prayers are withPrayers to the victims of the #OrlandoShooting.My thoughts and prayers are withI send my prayerspraying forI offer prayers forsending strong prayersWe prayOur thoughts & prayersPlease join me in praying forPraying for the ‪#‎Orlando‬ victimsin praying forRobin and I pray forWe pray forPlease continue prayingpray for the victims and those injuredMy condolences, thoughts and prayersOur thoughts and prayers go out toPraying formy thoughts and prayers areI am praying forWe grieve and pray formy prayers arePraying forMy thoughts and prayers arepraying forOur thoughts and prayersproviding prayers and supportin your thoughtsThoughts and prayersMy thoughts and prayers arepray4our deadMy prayersOur thoughts and prayersSusan and my thoughts and prayersOur thoughts and prayersMy thoughts and prayerskeep them in your prayersextend our prayers and thoughtsour thoughts and prayerspraying forWe prayto pray forin prayerMy thoughts areMy heart and prayersMy thoughts and prayersMy thoughts are withthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayersPrayersthoughts and prayersprayersthoughtsthoughts and millions of prayersthoughts and prayersin our thoughts & prayersthoughts and prayersPrayersOur thoughts and prayersthoughts and prayerspray for their families and the people of OrlandoOur prayersthoughts and prayerspraying for the many people whose lives have been shattered by this cowardly actthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersextend our prayerskeep all of the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayersprayersthoughts and prayersprayersprayersprayersMay God bless allprayersprayersprayerthoughtsprayerthoughts and prayersprayprayersMy prayers are with the victims and their families.thoughts and prayersPrayers for the victims and families of the atrocity in Orlando.praysend our prayers to victims & families in Orlandoare praying#‎PrayersforOrlando‬They are in our prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayerprayersprayersthoughtsprayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayingMy thoughts & prayerssending thoughts and prayersMy thoughts and prayerspraying forMy prayersI'm praying todayMy thoughts and prayersmy thoughts and prayersmy thoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersOur hearts and prayersOur thoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersOur thoughts in prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersThoughts and prayersPrayingprayersthoughts and prayersprayingthoughts and prayersprayersthoughts and prayers#PrayForOrlandothoughts and prayersprayerspraying for the victims & their familiesthoughts and prayers#PrayForOrlandoprayprayers#prayfororlandoprayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayers#PrayforOrlandothoughts and prayerspraypraythoughts, prayerspraysprayersMy prayers are with the victimsPrayersMy deepest prayers and sympathiesAs we continue to praythoughts and prayersprayprayersprayersprayMy prayersPrayers forthoughts and prayersMy prayersprayers to those who have been taken from usWe prayI extend my deepest condolences and prayersthoughts and prayersprayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayersthoughts and prayersprayingprayingPrayingprayersthoughts and prayersprayingPrayingthoughts and prayers#‎PrayersForOrlando‬thoughtsprayers and thoughtsthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayingthoughts and prayersprayingthoughts and prayersin my prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayerspraying for the victimsprayersthoughts and prayersprayprayingprayingprayersprayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayersthoughts and prayersprayingthoughts and prayersprayprayoffering a heartfelt prayerMy prayer is sincerethoughts and prayersprayersturn to prayer, and prayprayersThoughts and prayersThoughts are w/victims' familiesin my prayerswe pray forto pray togetherEveryone involved and their loved ones are in my prayersPlease join me in prayingpray the injured make a speedy and full recoverythoughts and prayersthoughts and prayersprayers are with the people of #Orlandothoughts

The majority of lawmakers in both parties mentioned thinking about or praying for people in Orlando, often specifically mentioning victims, families, first responders and the LGBT community. “Thoughts and prayers” was one of the most common phrases in the statements, and many chose not to elaborate much beyond that.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham issued a simple tweet: “This is a horrific day for America. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims, survivors, and those touched by this terrible tragedy.”

[When people pray for Orlando, is it empathetic or selfish?]

Terrorism and ‘radical Islam’

 Click a phrase to read lawmaker's full statement

Many lawmakers mentioned terrorism ...

House 67 120
Senate 22 26
89 146
acts of terrorismradicalization of terrorist organizationsbeen implicated in terrorismdeadly terror attacktragic act of terrorism spawned by an ideology of hate being pushed by ISIS.we come together to ensure we do not let terrorists divide ushorrific acts of violence and terrorism in Florida.regardless of official ties to ISIShorrific act of terror in Orlandoacknowledge the threats we face and do everything we can to root out terror.this horrific act of terrorISISThis act of terrorismmust have the resolve to defeat ISISdestroy ISISthe terrible terrorist attack in Orlandoit certainly appears to be an act of terrorthis terrorist attackdegrade terrorist groups'the threat of terrorists at home, and defeat the threat of terrorism abroadAmericans will stand united against this deadly act of terror.This horrific attack reminds us that we must remain vigilant here at home against threats of terrorism.“This atrocity was more than a cowardly act of terrorism and a violent rampage of hate againstconnection with ISISheartbreaking act of terrorism in Orlando.Confronting the threat of violent homegrown ‎radicalization is one of the greatest counterterrorism challenges our law enforcement and intelligence community faces.Acts of terrorismRadical terrorism is a threat to those ideals.this horrific act of terrorOur diverse nation will not be deterred by murderers who commitacts of terrorismterrorismterrorist actinto the precise nature and source of this terroract of terrorterrorist attackact of terrorismthe attacker pledged his allegiance to ISISan attacker who had sworn allegiance to ISILterror attackwe as a nation ‎must resolve to stop ISILterrorterror watch listlet us recommit to justice and forward progress in the face of terrorterroract of terrorterrorismThe senseless hate of ISIScome together to put an end to this terrorismterrorresolve to overcome terrorismact of terroract of terrorterror groupsterrorist incidentact of terrorISIS terroriststerrorismact of terrorterrorismterrorterrorismterrorismact of terrorterroriststerror attacksact of terrorismterroract of terrorthe Orlando terrorist had pledged his allegiance to ISISthis act of vicious terrorismdestroy ISIS and its affiliatesExpatriate Terrorist Actknown ISIS terrorists cannot use U.S. passports to return to Americaterror attackISIS doesn’t just target soldiers.ISISterrorismterrorist act by an ISIS sympathizerterrorterrorismterror attackunite to defeat terrorism’s threatthe worst terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001ISISEach attack inspires others.jihadon their mind and evil in their heart.terrorist attacksdomestic terrorismthe Islamic Statethese terrorists and their evil ideologySunday's terrorist attackWe will not give in to terrorists and we ultimately will destroy them.response to the evolving threat of terrorismterrorinternational terrorist networkthis heinous and cowardly act of terrorterrorismthe terrorist watch lista terrorist attackISIS-inspired act of mass murdereliminate the jihadists’ entire organizationsthis terrorist attackTerrorism has proven it knows no boundariesact of terrorallegiance to ISISISIS-inspired act of terrorismbe able to live without fear that terrorists could strike their neighborhoodsterrorism and eliminate ISISdefeat the terroristsact of terrorthe horrific terror attackthe devastating terrorist attackthis horrific act of terrorismall Americans must stand united against terrorismrenewed commitment to defeat and destroy the radical Islamic movement that fosters such mayhemacts of violence and terroran act of terror against all Americansact of terrorismthis act of terrorismthis horrific act of terrorismThis is domestic terrorism, plain and simple.this senseless act of terrorismevil face of terrorismterrorwith an announced link to terrorist motivationthis horrific act of terrorrooting out radicals in our own country who heed the call to radical jihad and aim to harm our friends, neighbors, and familiesto root out terrorists who seek to do us harmThis is yet another senseless act of terror on American soil.We will continue to fight terrorism here and around the world.We must fight terrorism.an act of terrorismappears to be the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11the terror attackan act of terrorism.This attack is unfortunately just the latest example that these terrorist thugs will stop at nothing to import their extremist ideology and violence to our homeland.because radical terrorists will stop at nothing to destroy all who do not agree with them.terrorist attack in Orlandoin the name of one or more terrorist causesAdditionally, since certain reports indicate that this attack may have been motivated by the actions of the Islamic State, we must continue our efforts to combat global terrorism abroad and at home.the horrifying terror attacknecessary work of defeating terrorismThere is no absolute safety when terrorists plan to die in any attack.Terrorism is by definition violence and intimidation, and therefore stems from hate.In order to defeat these threats and protect the homeland, we must destroy ISIS and its affiliates in the Middle East. the terrorist attackTo exercise terror and violenceterrorthe most lethal terrorist attack in America since 9-11 and we must redouble our efforts to fight terrorism in all formsthe terrorist attackthis terroristpledged allegiance 2 ISISthe despicable act of terrorismthe terror attackthe worst terrorist attack on America since September 11, 2001this vicious terrorist attackthe threat of ISIS and radical Islampledged allegiance to ISISdo more to destroy ISIS and end all terrorist threatsthe horrific terrorismeliminate the threat posed by ISIS at home and abroaddomestic terrorismthis horrific terror attackcombat radical terrorismIt is terrorist control.ISIS is effectively using social media to recruitremain steadfast in our anti-terrorism and security effortsact of terrorismact of terrorterrorterrordomestic terrorismterroract of terroract of terrorismWe must come together and reject terrorismISISpure terrorremain vigilant against terrorismterrorist attackthreat of terrorismact of terrorismterrorist attackact of terroract of terrorISIS ideologyIslamic terroristsTerroristsacts of terrorterroristterrorismact of terroract of terrorismIslamic terroriststerrorist attackterrorist's professed allegiance to ISISterroriststerroristsact of terrorTerrorterrorismterroract of terroracts of cowardice and terrorterrorterrorist’sact of terrorismterrorist attackact of domestic terrorterroriststerrorterrorismterrorismterror attackterrorist attacksterrorist shootingISISISISterroristall ISIS inspired terroristsISISa terrorist attackdestroy ISIS and other terrorist organizationsa terrorist attackthe worst terror attackacts of terrorAn act of terrorterrorisman act of terrorISISit is terrorismterrorismthe threat of terrorismThe terrorist attackwe come together to defeat terrorismact of terrorismTerroriststerrorist attackISISact of terrorismISISterrorterrorismISISterroristsCongressional Task Force on TerrorismISISterroristsISIS-inspired terrorist attackterroristISISa heartbreaking act of terrorterrorist attackIslamic Stateact of terrorterrorist attackterrorismterrorist attackact of terrorismterror attackterroristsISISacts of terroracts of terrorismterror attacks and the war on terrorismterror threatwar on terrorISISterrorist attackacts of terrorterror actact of terrorismterrorist attackterror attacksterrorismterrorist, who pledged allegiance to ISISISIS and other Islamist terror groupsterroristISIS-inspired homegrown terroristthis terrorist committed such a horrific actTerrorismterroristISISterrorterror attackterrorist attackISISthere are already aspiring terrorists in our midstas one country to fight terrorterrorist act,/ committed by a bigoted individual.Islamic StateWe will not stand by and tolerate this type of terrorismWe will not tolerate terroristslone wolf terroristsact of terrorismGlobal War on Terrorismterrorist attackact of terrorismterroristIslamic StateIslamic terrorismIslamic Stateterrorist attackact of terrorismterroristact of terrorismISISterrorist attackRadical Islamic terrorismact of terrorterrorismact of terrorismISISISISterrorist attackradical Islamic terrorist pledged allegiance to ISISISIS’sterrorist attackterrorist attackterrorist attackISISact of terroract of terroracts of terrorterrorist attackISISISISterrorISIS continueterrorist attackterrorterrorismterrorist who committed this actact of terrorISISterrorterror attackterroristISISterrorist groupscontinue to address terrorism moving forward, including counteracting ISIS propagandaterrorISISterrorist attackterrorismTerrorism#‎terror‬ attacksact of terrorismterrorist pledged loyalty to ISISthreat of terrorismact of terrorismacts of terrorterrorismISISact of terrorterrorismact of terrorterrorist attackISISterrorterroristterrorist attackterrorist attacksISIS-relatedterrorist attackdomestic terrorismISISterrorterrorterrorterror attacksterrorcounter-terrorismISIS and al-QaedaISIStragic and horrific terrorist attackour fight against terrorism continuesradical terrorismterroristterrorismterroristsact of terrorthis country deserves the basic comfort of knowing they’re safe from terrorTerrorism anywhere is cowardly and devastatingterrorist attackIslamist terroristsrefusal to back down in the face of terrorwould-be terroristsact of terrorISISISISterrorists

... but those who mentioned Islam were almost exclusively Republican

House 2 74
Senate 1 6
3 80
see the effects of Islamic terrorism here at homeIslamic terrorist organization,radical Islamic terroristsIslamic radicalismradical IslamISIS and Islamic terror groups and fightersradical Islamic terrorism‘radical Islamic terrorism.’vicious Islamist theologyradical Islamic terrorismradical Islamic terrorstruggle against radical Islamic terrorism'radical Islam'towardly Islamic radicalsIslamic extremists.the horrors of radical IslamRadical Islamic terrorism against the United States will not scare usradical Islamic extremisman Islamic jihadistradicalized Islamistseliminate violent Islamic extremismthis battle against violent Islamic extremists.radical Islamic movementrealizing radical Islam is a primary factor in the terrorism we face today.Islamic terroristit was a terrorist attack motivated by radical Islamic ideologyThe hateful ideology of ISIS and radical Islam must be confronted and defeated.we are a nation in a state of war with radical Islamic extremistsfight Islamic radicalism here and abroadin the name of a radical Islamic jihadterror threats and radical Islamic violence. We will strengthen our resolve to defeat ISIS.radical Islamradical Islamic terrorismWe must fight radical Islamthe hands of a radical Islamic terroristradical Islamic terrorists are a threat to all Americansmurdered at the hands of radical Islamic terrorismthreat of ISIS-inspired, radical Islamic terrorism on U.S. soil is reala possible act of Islamic terrora terrorist attack and was inspired by radical Islamic jihadism.radical Islamists continue to target our country and our way of lifethe threat radical Islamic terrorismradical Sunni Islamdefeat radical Islamic terrorismradical Islam is involved or responsible.against the very real threat of radical Islamic terrorradical Islamic terrorismIslamic extremistwe are at war w/ Islamist extremists.radical Islamic terroristradical Islamic terrorismIslamist extremistsradical Islamic terrorismradical Islamic terroristsRadical Islamic terrorismradical Islamicradical Islamif linked to radical Islamist ideologyRadical Islamic terrorismIslamist terrorist attackIslamist terroristsIslamist threatradical Islamic terrorradical Islamic terrorismradical Islamist extremismradical IslamistsIslamic radicalsradical Islamicradical Islamicradical IslamISIS – and Islamic TerrorismIslamic terroristsradical IslamicIslamic extremistradical IslamIslamic terrorismIslamic terrorradical Islam versus mankindradical IslamismRadical Islamist ExtremismRadical Islamic terrorismradical Islamic terrorismRadical Islamic terrorismradical Islamicradical Islamic StateIslamic terroristsRadical Islamradical Islamcombating Islamic extremismwaging war against radical Islam.ISIL and Islamic terroristsRadical Islamic terrorism is realradical Islamic gunmanradical Islamist terroristsradical Islamistsradical Islamic terrorismradical Islamradical Islamic extremismradical Islamic terrorismradical Islamic terrorismradical Islamic terroristsIslamic JihadistsIslamic JihadistIslamic TerrorismIslamic terrorismIslamic terroristscancer of radical Islamradical Islama single religious origin: Islam.radical Islamic ideologybeing honest about the radical ideology behindIslamic extremismIslamic terroristsradical Islamic terrorism

Nearly half of Republicans and more than a third of Democrats mentioned terrorism in various ways, but a quarter of Republicans specifically referred to “radical Islam” in some form. Only three Democrats did.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) referred to “vicious Islamist theology,” and Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) said, “I believe this is truly a world war: radical Islam versus mankind.”

Several Republicans directly called out President Obama for his reluctance to use the phrase, such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who said he had met Seddique Mateen, the shooter’s father, in 2014, but didn’t remember him: “This attack was not merely a hate crime; it was a terrorist attack motivated by radical Islamic ideology. It is long overdue for the president to take another look at how to approach this challenge. We will know he understands when he starts using the right words.”

[Top Republicans join Obama in condemning Trump’s questioning of Obama’s allegiances]

Learn more at washingtonpost.com

Chris Alexakispolicy