Forty-nine people were shot dead at a gay club in Orlando. Another 53 were injured. By all accounts, they were targeted as members or allies of the LGBT community. The month is a nationwide celebration of gay pride, timed to remember the Stonewall Riots when LGBT people fought for their rights, including their right to keep nightclubs as safe spaces.
In his many appearances and statements since the massacre, however, Gov. Rick Scott has so far avoided uttering the words "gay" and "LGBT" and has refused to acknowledge that community was targeted. Members of the LGBT community are incensed at his omission.
Scott appeared on CNN by phone earlier yesterday afternoon, and anchor Jake Tapper specifically asked Scott if he would take special precautions to ensure that the rest of the state's LGBT community remained protected.
"There are other areas of the state of Florida, South Beach for example, where there may be a large and thriving LGBT community that might be very, very afraid this morning. Are you taking precautions? Are you sending law enforcement to make sure that there are no copycats or just in case this individual wasn't a lone wolf?" Tapper asked.
RawStory points out that Scott wouldn't mention the LGBT community once.
Though he would go on to frame the attack as one against "America," he omitted the community that was specifically attacked.
This is an attack on our people. An attack on Orlando. An attack on Florida. An attack on America. An attack on all of us.— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) June 12, 2016
The pattern has continued, and the LGBT community has noticed.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida just gave an entire press conference about the massacre without once mentioning the words "gay" or "lesbian"— Maer Roshan (@MaerRoshan) June 12, 2016
Guv'nor Rick Scott STILL has not uttered the word LGBT or Lesbian or Gay. As a Floridian I am repulsed by his insensitivity & delusion.— Grace Laine (@TAW3343) June 13, 2016
Jake Tapper is literally trying to force Rick Scott to acknowledge why people were targeted and Rick Scott still won't say it. Jesus.— Calvin (@aurosan) June 12, 2016
Amazing how Rick Scott came swooping in today even tho his office spent millions of taxpayer dollars fighting gay marriage— Ajani (@Boothman23) June 13, 2016
Words absent from Rick Scott's remarks: gay, LGBT— John Anthony (@chocobohomo) June 12, 2016
Why was it so difficult 4 Rick Scott 2 express any sympathy or even an inkling of concern for the gay community? #PulseNightclub— +DemWhore Cheri (@coldwomaninmn) June 12, 2016
Scott opposed gay marriage and has generally not supported LGBT rights in the state.
To make matters
"Anyone who attacks our LGBT community, anyone who attacks anyone in our state, will be gone after to the fullest extent of the law," Attorney General Pam Bondi told reporters yesterday.
“They were the victims, and our hearts go out to all of the LGBT community, to those who have lost their lives and those that were injured,” she added later.
“I don’t need investigators to tell me the gay community was targeted in this attack,” Marco Rubio said in an interview with gay magazine The Advocate.
In times like this, we are supposed to honor the victims and celebrate their lives, but Scott's refusal to at least acknowledge a key part of the victims' lives and that, indeed, they were targeted because of homophobia has been a slap in the face to the very community so brutally targeted.
Update: On Tuesday, Rick Scott finally acknowledged the LGBT community in both a tweet and an interview with Fox News.
We pray for our LGBT community. Our Hispanic community. Our state. Our nation. This was an attack on every American. We are #OrlandoStrong— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) June 14, 2016
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.