Beto O’Rourke confronts Texas governor at shooting news conference


(NewsNation) — Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke confronted Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday at a news conference, criticizing the Republican for not doing more to prevent school shootings.

The conference was a day after a shooting in Uvalde where 19 children and two adults died after an 18-year-old gunman went from classroom to classroom at Robb Elementary School. It was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

O’Rourke interrupted Abbott’s press conference on the shooting, saying that that Tuesday’s events were  “totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.”

“You’re doing nothing,” he said, coming up to a table where Abbott was flanked by numerous other officials.

O’Rourke’s outburst quickly drew a sharp rebuke from others present at the conference, who yelled at him as he was escorted out. One man yelled profanities at him, and called him “sick” for making the shooting a “political issue.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said to O’Rourke: “You’re out of line and an embarrassment.”

As he was led out of the room, O’Rourke turned around, faced the stage, pointed his finger and said: “This is on you until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.”

Speaking outside Uvalde High School, where the news conference was, O’Rourke reiterated his criticism of Abbott, saying the governor’s only made it easier for people to get guns.

“He bragged about the fact that there would be no background check, no training, no vetting whatsoever,” O’Rourke said. “His only interest is the gun lobby.”

According to the Texas Tribune, Texas lawmakers last year passed a law signed by Abbott allowing Texans to carry handguns without a license or training if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing handguns.

In his remarks, O’Rourke referenced other school shootings in Texas, such as in Santa Fe High School, Sutherland Springs, Midland-Odessa. and El Paso, where O’Rourke is from.

“After every one of these he holds a press conference just like this, and I wish to hell when he came to El Paso someone would have stood up and held him to account and confronted him and shocked the conscience of the state into doing something,” O’Rourke said.

This all came after O’Rourke criticized the governor for his planned attendance at this weekend’s National Rifle Association leadership summit in Houston.

“Governor Abbott, if you have any decency, you will immediately withdraw from this weekend’s NRA convention and urge them to hold it anywhere but Texas,” O’Rourke, one of Texas’ strongest Democratic forces, tweeted Tuesday night.

Houston’s Democratic mayor, Sylvester Turner, said some people want the city to cancel the NRA meeting but added they can’t break the contract.

The greater question, he said, is why politicians still plan to speak there after the shooting in Uvalde.

“It’s about elected officials at the highest level in our state going and speaking and endorsing those policies and that’s wrong,” Turner said. “And you can’t pray and send condolences on one day and then be going and championing guns on the next.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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