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Obama After Nice Attack: 'We Will Not Be Deterred' in Fight Against Terror

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated 
President Barack Obama arrives to speak about the attack in Nice, France, while addressing ambassadors to the United States during reception in the East Room of the White House July 15, 2016, in Washington, DC. Obama decried the deadly truck attack in Nice as a "tragic and appalling" on freedom and pledged firm US support for France. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan SmialowskiBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty ImagesBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP - Getty Images

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In the wake of the terror attack that left at least 84 dead in Nice, France, during Bastille Day celebrations, President Barack Obama said Friday the fight against terror goes undeterred, but will not be won by a divided front.

"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 in remarks from the White House.

A private reception for the Diplomatic Corps in the East Room was delayed in order for the president to address the carnage caused by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel when he barreled a truck down a packed street of revelers, leaving 84 dead and more than 200 wounded.

It was unclear whether Bouhlel, a Tunisian-born married father living in Nice, had any ties to terrorist groups, but French prosecutor Francois Molins said, "I must remind you that this type of action is very much within the framework of the permanent call for murder of terrorist organizations."

"A lot of nations here have been affected by (ISIS)," Obama said to the Diplomatic Corps.

"We will not be deterred," Obama said. "We will keep fighting against terrorists to destroy the organization."

"In contrast to these terrorists, we will win this fight by building — never giving up on diplomacy," Obama said. The president called recent suggestions that Muslims in the U.S. be subjected to tests or deported "repugnant."

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Donald Trump on Friday, who has said that Muslims should be barred from entering the country, linked the Nice attack and previous ones in the U.S. and around the world to migrants and refugees. Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, took his GOP colleague's proposal a step further, saying Muslims in the U.S. should be tested on their beliefs.

"We cannot let ourselves be divided by religion because that’s exactly what terrorists want," Obama said Friday. "We should never do their work for them."

Obama also spent time in front of the Corps highlighting the ways "security and peace" have been improved by the "power of diplomacy" and various countries working together.

"Even on difficult days like this, that's what gives me hope, Obama said, after noting, "It's been a difficult several weeks here in the U.S."

The brief speech marked the second time this week that Obama was forced to share condolences and try to evoke a sense of stability after an attack. On Tuesday, he also touted the advantages of unity at a memorial service for five Dallas police officers gunned down during an attack at a rally last week.

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