Democrat Beto O’Rourke was escorted out of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference Wednesday after he showed up and heckled the governor in the middle of an update on the elementary school massacre in Uvalde.
As Abbott was finishing his remarks to reporters, O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for governor, stood up and began speaking about the need for gun control legislation.
“Excuse me,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said as O’Rourke ignored him and went on about how “the time has come to put a stop” to gun violence. O’Rourke did not have a microphone, and most of his comments were inaudible.
“Sit down!” shouted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as the Democrat kept speaking.
“You’re out of line and an embarrassment!” Patrick told O’Rourke, while others began raising their voices.
“You are doing nothing!” O’Rourke yelled at Abbott as police officers began to march him out of the room.
“You need to get his a** out of here, this isn’t the place to talk this over,” said Uvalde Mayor Don Mclaughlin, calling O’Rourke a “sick son of a b****.”
O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, where a gunman killed 23 people and injured 23 others in 2019, is a longtime advocate for strict gun control laws. As recently as November he said that “common sense gun laws” were needed in Texas, and during his failed 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, he proposed a mandatory gun buyback scheme.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said during one 2019 Democratic primary debate. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans any more!”
Following Tuesday’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where at least 19 students and two adults were killed, Democrats have renewed calls for gun control laws and accused Republicans of being complicit in the murder of children through inaction.
“Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday,” Abbot said at Wednesday’s press conference. “Anyone who shoots his grandmother in the face has to have evil in his heart, but it is far more evil for someone to gun down little kids. It is intolerable, and it is unacceptable for us to have in this state anybody who would kill little kids in our schools.”
Earlier, O’Rourke had called on Abbott to withdraw from his scheduled speaking event at the National Rifle Association’s leadership summit in Houston following Tuesday’s shooting.
Abbott, Cruz, and former President Donald Trump are among several high-profile Republicans expected to attend the pro-Second Amendment conference.
“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 tweeted early Wednesday morning.