President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Lewiston, Maine, on Friday afternoon to pay respects to the victims of a mass shooting last week that killed 18 people, and to grieve with families and community members.
The Bidens will also meet with first responders, nurses and others on the front line who responded to the massacre, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, this type of trip by the president has become too, too familiar,” she said at a White House briefing.
She continued, “Too many times, the president and the first lady have traveled to communities completely torn apart by gun violence. As the president said last week, this is not normal, and we can’t accept it as normal.”
Biden has been calling on Congress to pass a new assault weapons ban, universal background checks and help states adopt and strengthen red flag laws, the White House said.
The deputy director of the White House’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention, Greg Jackson, has been on the ground in Maine helping victims as part of the federal government’s response to the tragedy.
Last Wednesday, a gunman opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar in the city of Lewiston, setting off a multistate manhunt for the suspect. Officials found the shooter dead two days later from “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” according to Maine Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck.
Dozens were also injured, officials said, in what was the state’s deadliest mass shooting.
After the shooting, Biden called on Republicans in Congress to “fulfill their duty to protect the American people.”
“Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers,” Biden said. “This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars — physical and mental — of this latest attack.”