Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

As political leaders bicker over guns and terrorism, President Obama tried to help a distraught community heal during a solemn visit Thursday, June 16, 2016 to Orlando, Fla.

Obama planned no major speech or call to action during his trip to a community after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, as he has after other tragedies. Instead, the president planned to spend much of his time privately consoling the families of the 49 victims and meeting with doctors, paramedics and other first responders.

The low-profile visit reflected the president’s challenge to find something meaningful to say when the causes of the attack seem to grow murkier by the day. Even as the families of 49 victims bury their loved ones, it’s unclear what led a 29-year-old Muslim born in New York to open fire in a gay nightclub where he may have been a frequent patron.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama would deal with the ambiguity in the Florida shooting by focusing on the victims.

“The president’s visit to Orlando has nothing to do with the individual who perpetrated this terrible attack,” Earnest said Wednesday. He said Obama intended to tell residents “that they’re not alone, even as they endure what surely have been several dark nights.”

The White House released few details in advance about Obama’s visit, which aides said was hurriedly arranged in a fraction of the time usually required to plan a presidential trip. But Obama planned to use the visit “to make clear that the country stands with the people of Orlando, stands with the LGBT community in Orlando, as they grieve for their loss,” Earnest said.

Vice President Joe Biden was joining Obama in Orlando. (AP)

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Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at a memorial in Orlando, Fla., June 16, 2016, in memory of those killed in the shooting at a gay nightclub. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama and Vice President Biden depart a makeshift memorial after placing flowers in memory of shooting victims in Orlando, Fla., June 16, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

The president and vice president pause after placing flowers at a memorial in Orlando, Fla., June 16, 2016. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama and Vice President Biden leave flowers at a memorial to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, June 16, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama and Vice President Biden take flowers to a makeshift memorial for the shooting victims of the Orlando massacre, June 16, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

A man holds a sign protesting assault weapons as President Obama arrives to meet with the families of those killed in Orlando, Fla. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

A police officer stands guard as a motorcade transporting President Obama arrives in Orlando for the president’s meeting with families of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, June 16, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama’s motorcade and supporting vehicles drive by an electronic billboard announcing #OrlandoUnited, June 16, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama is presented with a T-shirt by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center, as Orange County, Fla. Mayor Teresa Jacobs watches on the tarmac at Orlando International Airport, June 16, 2016. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama shakes hands with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Vice President Joe Biden shakes hands with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, June 16, 2016. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama hugs Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, accompanied by Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer, right, on the tarmac upon his arrival at Orlando International Airport, June 16, 2016. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

Obama greets Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Biden greets Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as the president and vice president arrive in Orlando, Fla., to meet with families of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, June 16, 2016. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama, Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., leave Air Force One upon their arrival at Orlando International Airport, June 16, 2016. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

Military personnel salute as Air Force One, with President Obama aboard, departs Andrews Air Force Base, Md., June 16, 2016, en route to Orlando, Fla. (AP/Jose Luis Magana)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama boards Air Force One to travel to Orlando, Fla., June 16, 2016. The president and vice president will meet with families of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama boards Air Force One, June 16, 2016, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., for trip to Orlando, Fla. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, June 16, 2016, for the short trip to Andrews Air Force Base and then on to Orlando, Fla. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

Marine One waits on the South Lawn of the White House, June 16, 2016, to take President Obama to Andrews Air Force Base and then to Orlando, Fla. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

Obama visits families of the Orlando massacre victims

President Obama waves to members of the media as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House for the trip to Andrews Air Force Base. (AP/Andrew Harnik)