President Obama on Nice Attack: ‘We Cannot Let Ourselves Be Divided’

2 minute read

U.S. President Barack Obama responded to the Nice attack Friday, urging unity in the wake of the grisly truck attack that left at least 84 dead in France and warning that Americans “cannot let ourselves be divided” by the attacks.

“I know I speak for all of us when I say that these individuals and these networks are an affront to all of our humanity,” Obama said, speaking at the Diplomatic Corps Reception in the White House. In the speech, he reiterated support for the United States and France’s Muslim allies, saying that “Islam a religion that teaches peace and justice and compassion.”

Seeming to respond to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s call Friday morning to deport all Muslims in the U.S. who believe in Shari‘a law, Obama also called for solidarity across religions.

“In the wake of last night’s attack, we’ve heard more suggestions that more Muslims in America be targeted, tested for their beliefs… The very suggestion is repugnant and affront to everything we stand for as Americans,” the President said. “We cannot let ourselves be divided by religion, because that’s exactly what the terrorists want.”

Obama then alluded to fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, exactly one week prior to the Nice attack, which was preceded by the killings of two black men by police. “It’s been a difficult several week here in the United States,” Obama said. “But the divide that exists is not between races and ethnicities and religions. It is between people who recognize the common humanity of all people and are willing to build institutions that promote that common humanity, and those who do not.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Tessa Berenson at