by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 2, 2017) — In a five-minute speech against the backdrop of a painting of George Washington from the White House Diplomatic Room, President Donald Trump told a shocked and grieving nation late Monday morning that longstanding “common bonds” will strengthen and unify Americans following a massacre carried out by what appears to have been a lone attacker at 10:08 p.m. EDT on October 1.

The president said he will be traveling to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and law enforcers, who he highly praised during his brief remarks.  He will also meet with families who lost loved ones in the massacre.

“We ask God to help see you through this very dark period,” Trump said in one of his many references to an Almighty.  He also “pledged support” for those injured, which may total as many as 400.

Approximately 22,000 people were attending the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival, whose third and final night of performances was Sunday.

On Tuesday, he will be visiting Puerto Rico to see firsthand the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria nearly two weeks ago as well as ongoing recovery efforts. A three-star general is now overseeing the command center established for that purpose on the island and U.S. territory, which is home to approximately 3.5 million residents.

Several sources have related that a posting on an ISIS-related website claims that the Las Vegas shooter, identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, converted to Islam several months ago while noting that “no evidence” supporting the claim was offered.

Paddock is now dead.

The Washington Times and other outlets reported on Monday that ISIS video suggesting future terror attacks released in May depicted the Las Vegas strip in its footage.

Trump called the massacre “an act of pure evil” and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff, although he did not state for how long.

Many termed the assault, launched from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, an act of “terrorism” even before it became known that ISIS claimed responsibility.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are assisting local police in the investigation, Trump said.

His full remarks can be read and viewed here.

An update given by Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo at 11:31 a.m. EDT revealed that 58 people have lost their lives and more than 500 have been injured.  During that presser, an investigator said that no connection with any international terrorist group has been established.

Update, 2:34 p.m. EDT:  The White House will hold a moment of silence in memory of those lost at 2:45 p.m.

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