Beto O’Rourke, a former U.S. congressman and the current Democratic candidate in the upcoming race for Texas governor, interrupted a press conference led by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday, rebuking him and other Republicans for refusing to take action on gun violence following the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Nineteen children and two adults were killed by an 18-year-old shooter in an elementary school in Uvalde on Tuesday. According to an analysis from The Texas Tribune, the state has seen eight mass shootings over the past decade, which have coincided with the loosening of gun regulations and rules by Republican lawmakers over the same period.
Abbott and other Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, were onstage when O’Rourke condemned their refusal to act. Uvalde’s mayor, Republican Don McLaughlin, was also present.
O’Rourke spoke as the microphone was being passed from one speaker to another. Although he was technically interrupting the event, he didn’t interrupt a specific person when he made his comments.
“This is on you,” he said to the lawmakers, regarding the massacre. “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,” O’Rourke went on.
Beto O’Rourke just interrupted Greg Abbott’s press conference pic.twitter.com/UFXo0PajYK
— p e t e (@plana_journ) May 25, 2022
The Republicans that O’Rourke was addressing were visibly upset by his comments, with McLaughlin immediately demanding that security “get his ass out of here.”
“I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue,” the mayor said, addressing O’Rourke with a microphone.
Although several individuals in the crowd were frustrated by O’Rourke’s actions, others demonstrated their approval. Many chanted “Let him speak!” and spoke out in support of the Democrat’s First Amendment speech rights as he was being escorted out of the auditorium.
The Texas Democratic Party also expressed support for O’Rourke, writing on Twitter that “a real sick son of a bitch would pray for solutions instead of taking action after 21 Texans were slaughtered in their classroom.”
The same day that he interrupted the press conference, O’Rourke condemned the governor for his plan to attend a National Rifle Association (NRA) event in the state later this week.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
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