WASHINGTON — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said attackers like the shooter in the Orlando massacre are “the new face of the war on terror.”
“They have said openly that they intend to target us here, and one of the hardest parts of this war is the individual who carries out an attack by themselves in a soft target like this, basically, in Orlando, Florida,” Rubio said in a phone interview Sunday.
“And it’s a reminder that the war on terror has evolved into something we’ve never had to confront before — individuals capable of conducting these sorts of massacres unexpectedly in places that you normally wouldn’t associate with the kinds of attacks that you see,” he said.
At least 50 people were killed and 53 injured in the early Sunday morning hours at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
“If in fact this terrorist attack is one inspired by radical Islamic ideology, it is quite frankly not surprising that they would target this community in this horrifying way, and I think it’s something we’ll have to talk about some more here, across the country,” he said.
Rubio said it’s not yet clear what the shooter’s motivations were, but that if radical Islamic beliefs were behind the shooting, “common sense tells you he specifically targeted the gay community because of the views that exist in the radical Islamic community with regard to the gay community.”
Rubio urged central Florida residents to give blood.
“You can just imagine the demand on the blood bank,” he said. “So I would encourage those that are eligible and can give blood to please try to do that. That’s one thing we can do.”
He directed Orlando-area residents to his Twitter feed, where Rubio posted a link to an Orlando Sentinel report on how and where to donate blood.