Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) abruptly walked off from a British journalist’s questions about gun violence in America two days after an elementary school massacre in his state left 19 children and two adults dead.
Cruz, who is due to appear at a National Rifle Association convention this weekend, became incensed when pressed on gun laws and why mass shootings “only happen in America.”
Cruz was attending a vigil for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting when he was grilled by Sky News reporter Mark Stone about overhauling gun laws in the U.S. The senator began by dismissing calls for reform by saying “It’s easy to go to politics.” He added: “The proposals the Democrats have? None of them would have stopped this.” (Cruz had earlier called to “harden schools” by fitting in new bulletproof glass and only having “one door into and out of the school” during a Fox News interview.)
But when Stone asked why there was an “American exceptionalism” when it comes to mass shootings, Cruz decided to wrap things up in a hurry. “I’m sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful,” he said, patting the reporter on the chest, adding: “You know what? You’ve got your political agenda, God love you,” before walking away from the TV crew.
Stone went after Cruz, saying he “can’t answer” why mass shootings are a uniquely American problem. Visibly angry, Cruz replied: “Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? ‘Cause it’s the freest, most prosperous, safest country on earth. Stop being a propagandist,” before heading for the exit once again.
Cruz was at the vigil alongside Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is also still set to appear at the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston this week. The pair have faced calls to withdraw from the event—which will also host former President Donald Trump—including from Abbott’s gubernatorial Democratic election rival Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke was thrown out of a press conference Wednesday after he heckled Abbott and Cruz for “doing nothing” to prevent school shootings. “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 was heard saying before his ejection. Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of one of the weapons used in the Texas mass killing, has withdrawn from the NRA convention.
The massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday is the worst school shooting in the U.S. since the massacre at Sandy Hook in Connecticut in 2012. Just days after his 18th birthday, the Uvalde gunman had legally bought two AR-15-style rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition a week before the slaughter.