June 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Obama, Biden meet with families of Orlando massacre victims

Barack Obama, Orlando, gay news, Washington Blade

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, third from left, hands President Barack Obama an #OrlandoUnited t-shirt on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla., on June 16, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

ORLANDO, Fla. — President Obama and Vice President Biden on Thursday met with the families of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre.

Obama and Biden sat down with survivors of the attack and local law enforcement and first responders who responded to it at the Amway Center, an arena in downtown Orlando in which the Orlando Magic play. The president and vice president also met with Pulse Nightclub’s owners and staff who were working on Sunday when a gunman opened fire shortly after 2 a.m.

Two employees were among the 49 people killed during the massacre.

The arena in which the meeting took place is roughly two miles away from Pulse Nightclub.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer gave Obama an #OrlandoUnited t-shirt on the tarmac of Orlando International Airport after they embraced. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Florida Gov. Rick Scott — who has sparked outrage among activists for not mentioning the LGBT community in his public comments about the massacre — also greeted Obama along with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) upon their arrival from Washington.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) traveled to Orlando aboard Air Force One.

The presidential motorcade left the airport shortly after 1 p.m.

Passersby — some with American and rainbow flags — and motorists took pictures of the motorcade as they stood along the medians of local roads and Interstate 4 that passes through downtown Orlando. Several businesses between the airport and the area in which the meeting took place have signs outside of them that pay tribute to the victims.

The Washington Blade will provide additional updates as they become available.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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