Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday called out Republicans who pulled out of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Leadership Forum in late May.
“I thought it was important to be there,” he said during Thursday’s “Verdict with Ted Cruz.” “I was disappointed to see so many others make the decision not to be there. In part, because the media narrative that comes out of horrific crimes, horrific mass murders, within seconds the media immediately wants to politicize them and use them to advance their long-standing political agenda that they had moments before the murder occurred.”
“In this instance, the media and the Democrats, they want to label anyone who believes in the Second Amendment, anyone who defends the Second Amendment, as responsible for this horrific crime and the NRA in particular is probably their favorite boogyman,” he continued.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backed out of the conference May 26 to attend a press conference in Uvalde, Texas, to address the shooting inside Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two fourth-grade teachers dead. Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also canceled his appearance at the convention to “focus on the families” of the victims. (RELATED: Trump Says The ‘Existence Of Evil’ Is Why Americans Need The Second Amendment)
“After prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials, I have decided not to speak at the NRA breakfast this morning,” Patrick announced in a statement. “While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and to all those suffering in Uvalde. This is a time to focus on the families, first and foremost.”
“I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform,” McLean said in a statement. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well.”
Cruz said former President Donald Trump had a “choice of words” for those who did not show up to the convention.
“I chatted with Trump right before he went on stage and thanked him for coming and I said, ‘Look, it was important that you came. It was important that you didn’t back out. Thank you for being here.’ And he of course agreed and he had, let me just say, some choice of words for some of the folks who chose not to be there,” the senator said. “They were with classic Trump understatement on that topic.”
Cruz spoke at the convention Friday evening, attributing a rise in gun violence incidents to a decline in American culture, including the fall in church attendance, broken families and cyberbullying.
“Tragedies like the events of this week are a mirror, forcing us to ask hard questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing. Looking at broken families, absent fathers, declining church attendance, social media bullying, violent online content, desensitizing the act of murder in video games, chronic isolation,” Cruz said.