Joe Biden

Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters in Buffalo, New York

May 17, 2022

The President's Remarks Honoring the Victims of the Shooting in Buffalo, New York

Q. Mr. President, what was your message to the families? What was your message to the families?

The President. What was the question?

Q. Mr. President, do you——

Q. What was your message to the families, Mr. President?

The President. My message was, they're going to be in pain for a long while. But they will get to the point where something—they'll open a closet door, or they'll ride by a park, or they'll eat their favorite ice cream, and they'll think of the person they lost, and they'll smile before they cry. And that's when they know you're going to make it. Until then, you're not sure. But it will happen. It will come.

Q. Mr. President——

"Replacement Theory"

Q. Mr. President, do you believe that certain Members of Congress, the Republican Party, as well as Tucker Carlson, who have echoed the "replacement theory," deserve some blame for violent acts like this?

The President. I believe anybody who echoes a replacement is to blame—not for this particular crime. But it's if for no purpose—no purpose—except for profit and/or political benefit. And it's wrong. It's just simply wrong.

Gun Control Measures

Q. What more can you do on guns via executive action?

The President. Not much on executive action. I've got to convince the Congress that we should go back to what I passed years ago.

I mean who in God's——

Q. How are you doing that?

The President. Well, I'm going to try. I'm going to try.

Gun Control Measures

Q. What's your—what is your thoughts about next steps in Congress? Do you think there's an opportunity or a prospect for more movement there?

The President. The answer is, it's going to be very difficult. It's going to be very difficult. But I'm not going to give up trying.

Domestic Terrorism

Q. Mr. President, is it time for a domestic terrorism statute?

The President. Well, we have enough laws on the books to deal with what's going on now. But we just have to—we have to deal with it.

Look, part of what the country has to do is look in the mirror and face the reality. We have a problem with domestic terror. It's real.

I know you don't want to hear me—not you. People don't want to hear me saying it. They say: "Well, he's the President. He's a Democrat. He's"—but that's what the intelligence community has been saying; that's what the military has been saying for a long time. There's nothing we can do about this. Nothing to do about this.

And look, there is a lot of people, like this murderer who committed this act, who are just deranged, who are susceptible, who are just lost and don't know what to do, and they're easily taken; they're easily sucked in. And it's got to stop. We have to admit it. I don't know why we don't admit what the hell is going on.

Anyway, thank you very much. We'll get on the plane.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:56 p.m. on the tarmac at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport prior to boarding Air Force One en route to Joint Base Andrews, MD. In his remarks, he referred to Payton S. Gendron, suspected gunman in the shooting at a Tops Friendly Markets grocery store in Buffalo, NY, on May 14. A reporter referred to Tucker Carlson, host, Fox News's "Tucker Carlson Tonight" program.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters in Buffalo, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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