The day after an horrific massacre that killed 19 children in Uvalde, TX, Beto O’Rourke demanded answers from the Governor Abbott.
Abbott, who has aggressively scaled back gun control measures in the state, was briefing reporters when O’Rourke approached the stage. O’Rourke, who is challenging Abbott for the Governorship in November, demanded a plan from the state’s leader.
“You said this is not predictable?” O’Rourke continued as people on the stage starting shouting at him to leave. “This is totally predictable,” he said, when leaders choose not to implement reforms.
Elected Texas Republicans angered by demands for change from
US Senator Ted Cruz, who has taken more money from the gun lobby than any member of Congress, told O’Rourke to “sit down”.
“Sit down,” Cruz said, condescendingly as he stood behind the Governor. “Sit down and don’t play this stuff.”
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who was seated next to Governor Abbott, told Beto O’Rourke “you’re out of line and an embarrassment”.
In 2019, after another school shooting left 10 dead, Patrick dissuaded Abbott from passing “red flag laws” in the state. Those laws would have allowed people concerned about the mental stability of their family members to request law enforcement to remove their firearms.
Patrick was instrumental in ensuring those laws failed then, and they could have prevented yesterday’s attack.
Don McLaughlin, the Mayor of Uvalde, was also on stage with the governor.
McLaughlin, who denounced calls for more gun control after the shooting, pointed at Beto O’Rourke and said “he needs to get his ass out of here”.
Mayor McLaughlin called O’Rourke “a sick son of a bitch” for demanding a plan to prevent another school shooting.
Abbott responded to the interruption by saying “people need to put aside personal agendas… and help those who are hurt”.
One Uvalde community member, who brought his son to the press conference, also stood to express his outrage.
“This is terrible!” he shouted as the Governor continued with his press conference. “I’m ashamed to be an American citizen right now!”
O’Rouke addresses a devastated and outraged community
“Then leave!” someone from the stage could be heard shouting back.
Outside of the auditorium, Beto told members of the media that it was “insane” the shooter was even allowed to buy his weapons.
“It is absolutely wrong, in fact it is insane… that we allow an 18-year-old to buy an AR-15!” O’Rourke shouted. “What the hell did we think he was going to do with that?”
“What do you say to Governor Abbott who says now is not the time to make this political?” a reporter asked.
“In each case we say “this isn’t the time”,” O’Rourke responded. “Now is the time! Like, literally, right now! That’s why I’m here.”
“This is predictable. It will happen and it will continue to happen until we change course,” he continued.
“We’ve got to change course.”