Obama Remarks on Terror Events in France

President Obama traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, January 9 to deliver an address on an upcoming initiative for free community college education in the United States. The president addressed the tragic events in France before discussing education. His remarks on France are excerpted below.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Knoxville, Tennessee
January 9, 2015

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

Pellissippi State Community College
Knoxville, Tennessee
2:05 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hey! Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Please have a seat. Well, it is good to be back in Tennessee.

* * * *

Before I get into the reason that I’m here today, I want to begin by saying just a few words about the tragic events that we’ve watched unfold in France over the last several hours and days. And because events have been fast-moving this morning, I wanted to make sure to comment on them.

I just spoke to my counterterrorism advisor. We have been in close touch with the French government throughout this tragedy. The moment that the outrageous attack took place, we directed all of our law enforcement and counterintelligence operations to provide whatever support that our ally needs in confronting this challenge. We’re hopeful that the immediate threat is now resolved, thanks to the courage and professionalism of the French personnel on the ground.

But the French government continues to face the threat of terrorism and has to remain vigilant. The situation is fluid. President Hollande has made it clear that they’re going to do whatever is necessary to protect their people. And I think it’s important for us to understand: France is our oldest ally. I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been directly impacted. We grieve with you. We fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share — universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.

And in the streets of Paris, the world has seen once again what terrorists stand for. They have nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering. And we stand for freedom and hope and the dignity of all human beings. And that’s what the city of Paris represents to the world, and that spirit will endure forever — long after the scourge of terrorism is banished from this world. (Applause.)

* * * *

Appreciate it, Tennessee. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)

END 2:38 P.M. EST

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