Texas governor Greg Abbott will not attend the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting in Houston on Friday.
His office told US-based media outlets that there were some changes in his schedule and he will make a return trip to Uvalde where a school shooting took the lives of 21 innocent people, with 19 children among the dead.
Senator John Cornyn and Republican Dan Crenshaw were among the other notable Republican party figures who will skip the NRA Convention in Houston, Texas. The NRA convention reminded many of a similar convention held over two decades ago, despite calls for cancellation, in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting where 12 students and a teacher were killed by two students.
Abbott, will however, address the gathering via video conferencing that will be shown at the NRA event in Houston. He was earlier scheduled to speak at the convention.
Former president Donald Trump and Republican senator Ted Cruz will also attend and address the convention.
Though, Abbott, Cornyn and Crenshaw said that there were changes in their schedule due to which they could not attend the convention, it remains unclear if it is a political move to not hurt Republican chances in the midterms to be held later this year.
The NRA has faced flak for their decision to hold the convention. “As a multigenerational Texan and gun owner, I am asking that you cancel your convention in light of the tragedy that occurred in Uvalde, some 275 miles away from your convention site,” Democrat lawmaker Marc Veasey said in a letter to the NRA.
Abbott also faced flak before his cancellation with Beto O’ Rourke confronting him during his press conference and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling him a fraud.
“He asked people to put their agendas aside and think about someone other than themselves. My God. How dare he? What an absolute fraud the governor of Texas is. And this is the same Gov. Abbott who tomorrow, tomorrow, will go speak at the NRA Convention in Houston,” Schumer said.
In another development, Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the assault rifle used in the Uvalde school shooting in Texas, said that it would not attend the convention.
“Daniel Defense is not attending the National Rifle Association (“NRA”) meeting due to the horrifying tragedy in Uvalde, Texas where one of our products was criminally misused. We believe this week is not the appropriate time to be promoting our products in Texas at the NRA meeting,” the assault rifle company said in a statement.
(with inputs from The Dallas Morning News, AFP and NBC News)