Obama: Government Trying To Determine Whether Americans Were On Board Malaysian Flight

President Obama opened his pre-scheduled speech in Wilmington, Del. on Thursday by addressing the downed Malaysian passenger plane, telling those in attendance that his administration is trying to determine how many Americans were on board.

“Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,” Obama said.

Right now, we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority, and I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.”

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said earlier in the day that she couldn’t yet confirm whether there were American passengers on the flight, which was reportedly shot down in eastern Ukraine.

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Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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