In Buffalo, Biden to meet victims' families after white supremacist shooting

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday Biden would "comfort the families of the ten people whose lives were senselessly taken in this horrific shooting."

 US President Joe Biden delivers remarks as first lady Jill Biden stands next to him, after paying respects and meeting with victims, family, first responders and law enforcement who were affected by the mass shooting committed by a gunman authorities say was motivated by racism. (photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks as first lady Jill Biden stands next to him, after paying respects and meeting with victims, family, first responders and law enforcement who were affected by the mass shooting committed by a gunman authorities say was motivated by racism.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)

President Joe Biden will travel to New York State on Tuesday to console families of victims of a white teenage gunman who targeted a Black community, as the racist violence that inspired his presidential run continues to plague the United States.

Biden will travel to Buffalo, New York, where authorities say Payton Gendron, 18, carried out an act of "racially motivated violent extremism" when he opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on Saturday at the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of Buffalo. He struck 13 people with gunfire, killing 10.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday Biden would "comfort the families of the ten people whose lives were senselessly taken in this horrific shooting," and meet with members of law enforcement and first responders to express gratitude for their bravery.

He will also visit a Tops Market memorial to pay respect to the lives lost, meet local leaders, and deliver remarks at a nearby community center, the White House said.

Biden is expected to decry racially motivated violence and call for new measures to combat it. He told Americans he ran for president to restore the soul of America, following predecessor Donald Trump's failure to denounce a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and took office weeks after a deadly attack on the US Capitol that included racially motivated groups.

 A woman leaves tributes at a memorial for victims near the scene of a shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New York, US May 15, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID) A woman leaves tributes at a memorial for victims near the scene of a shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New York, US May 15, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID)

But the Buffalo trip will also showcase how little Biden has achieved on stamping out a rise in white supremacist groups or curbing gun violence, with many Republican lawmakers blocking efforts to advance gun control measures and the country suffering a rash of mass shootings in recent months. Read full story

Biden has asked Congress to require new background checks for gun buyers and ban military-style "assault" weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. But Democrats who largely support gun safety measures don't have enough votes to pass them.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson on Monday said the Biden administration was implementing a "government-wide national strategy to counter domestic terrorism, which President Biden directed his national security team to develop on his first full day in office, recognizing that has evolved into the most urgent terrorism threat the United States faces today."

A top FBI official told Congress in November that the bureau was conducting around 2,700 investigations related to domestic violent extremism, and the Department of Justice said in January it was creating a new unit to counter domestic terrorism.

Police on Sunday confirmed that they were investigating Gendron's online postings, which included a 180-page manifesto he was believed to have written outlining the "Great Replacement Theory," a conspiracy theory that white people were being replaced by minorities in the United States and elsewhere.