Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday criticized “political posturing” in the wake of the killing of 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. The Texas senator, to whom gun rights groups have given more than $442,000, then proceeded to talk not about legislation that would crack down on firearms but rather about a bill to “harden schools.”
Asked about the massacre by Fox News host Jesse Watters, Cruz, speaking from near the site of the shooting, acknowledged that “we need to do something.” But he then immediately poured cold water on common-sense gun reform measures. In a comment similar to many others that have been voiced on Fox airwaves in the last day, Cruz added: “But the something is not the empty political posturing of people like Beto O’Rourke who shows up and tries to turn it into a political event instead of a briefing with the police about a horrific mass murder that just happened.”
On Wednesday, O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, interrupted a press conference on the shooting held by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
“This is on you until you choose to do something different,” O’Rourke said. “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.” O’Rourke also slammed Abbott’s close relationship to the National Rifle Association, at whose annual convention in Houston he is scheduled to speak, as is Cruz and ex-President Donald Trump.
Cruz, who was standing behind Abbott, said he was “shocked” by O’Rourke’s comments.
“To take something—you’ve got grieving families, you’ve got a community that is broken to pieces, and to try to politicize it and turn it into a rally the way Beto did, it was really—I’ve seen a lot of crass behavior,” Cruz said. “That was embarrassing and it was disgusting.”
Cruz then mentioned legislation he introduced in 2013 that he said “would spend $300 million on federal grants to harden schools” in the form of bulletproof glass and doors, and armed police officers. He argued that it’s necessary to have “one door into and out of the school and have that one door [with] armed police officers at that door.”
“If those federal grants had gone to this school, when that psychopath arrived, the armed police officers could have taken him out and we would have 19 children and two teachers still alive,” Cruz said.
A school district police officer “engaged” the gunman outside Robb Elementary School, but was shot and wounded, authorities confirmed. There was no exchange of gunfire. The gunman then entered the building through “a back door.” He was later shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent, according to the AP.