Trump and GOP leaders to speak at NRA event in Houston after Texas school shooting

1 month ago
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President Donald Trump gestures arsenic helium addresses the 148th National Rifle Association (NRA) yearly gathering successful Indianapolis, Indiana, April 26, 2019.

Lucas Jackson | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump volition present a header code successful enactment of weapon rights astatine a National Rifle Association lawsuit successful Houston connected Friday, days aft a shooting massacre astatine a Texas simple schoolhouse stoked a fervent propulsion to fortify firearm laws.

An 18-year-old gunman — wielding an AR-15-style agelong firearm that helium had purchased legally — opened occurrence astatine Robb Elementary School successful Uvalde, Texas, connected Tuesday, sidesplitting 19 children and 2 adults, officials said. The massacre marked the deadliest schoolhouse shooting successful Texas history.

Trump confirmed connected societal media connected Wednesday day that helium would not cancel his quality astatine the NRA's yearly "Leadership Forum" successful airy of the shooting. He suggested that helium would connection "real solutions and existent leadership" successful his code astatine the NRA's self-described "celebration of Second Amendment rights."

Other starring Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem are acceptable to articulation Trump astatine the event, which starts astatine 2 p.m. CT, according to the NRA.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who had been slated to look alongside Trump connected Friday afternoon, volition alternatively marque a instrumentality travel to Uvalde and clasp a property conference, his bureau said Thursday. Abbott volition grounds a video connection to beryllium played astatine the Houston normal center, a less-than-five-hour thrust from the tract of the massacre.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas announced Friday greeting that helium would cancel a planned speaking quality astatine an NRA meal lawsuit "after prayerful information and treatment with NRA officials."

"While a beardown protagonist of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not privation my quality contiguous to bring immoderate further symptom oregon grief to the families and each those suffering successful Uvalde," Patrick said successful a statement. "This is simply a clip to absorption connected the families, archetypal and foremost."

A spokesperson for Cruz did not respond to CNBC's requests to corroborate his attendance astatine the meeting.

Two different Texas Republicans, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, told CNBC earlier this week that they had backed retired of the league anterior to the Uvalde shooting.

Cornyn had an "unexpected alteration successful his schedule" and "has to beryllium successful D.C. for idiosyncratic reasons connected Friday," Cornyn spokeswoman Natalie Yezbick said successful an email Wednesday.

Justin Discigil, Crenshaw's main of staff, said that the congressman is incapable to marque it backmost from Kyiv, Ukraine, successful clip to be the event.

Noem volition talk astatine the forum, a spokesperson for the politician confirmed to CNBC. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is besides scheduled to talk astatine the event.

Noem, successful a promotional video shared connected the NRA's societal media implicit the weekend, paraphrased a punctuation from Charlton Heston, the precocious histrion and erstwhile NRA leader: "Joe Biden, I'll springiness you my weapon erstwhile you pry it from my acold dormant hands."

President Joe Biden, who criticized the "gun lobby" successful a somber code Tuesday night, will question to Uvalde connected Sunday with archetypal woman Jill Biden to "grieve with the community," the White House said.

An NRA spokeswoman did not instantly corroborate who would talk astatine Friday's event.

In a connection Wednesday, the NRA gave its "deepest sympathies" to the victims and families affected by the "horrific and evil crime." The radical said it would "pledge to redouble our committedness to making our schools secure."

The astir almighty gun-rights enactment successful the country, the NRA has opposed astir efforts to restrict firearm entree — including by expanding inheritance checks connected weapon purchases, a program that astir Democrats and gun-control activists support. Multiple bills to fortify inheritance checks passed the Democrat-led House successful 2019, but were halted successful the Senate.

Bipartisan talks connected imaginable weapon authorities — which look to absorption connected much stringent inheritance checks and alleged reddish emblem laws — restarted successful the Senate this week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gave Cornyn the greenish airy to negociate with Democrats connected proposals that the Texas legislator believes would person helped forestall the shooting successful his state.

The NRA and immoderate Republican lawmakers person alternatively suggested the U.S should fortify information successful nationalist spaces and absorption connected intelligence health, among different proposals to code weapon unit without restricting weapon ownership. Cruz, for instance, this week floated the thought that schools buildings should person just 1 entrance that is guarded by an equipped officer.

Their critics accidental those arguments disregard the basal of the issue. They often constituent retired that wide shootings are far much communal successful the U.S. than successful different nations wherever guns are overmuch little prevalent.

Those critics person gone connected the violative aft the massacre successful Uvalde, which came 10 days aft an 18-year-old achromatic antheral shot and killed 10 people successful a racially motivated onslaught astatine a supermarket successful a predominantly Black vicinity successful Buffalo, New York.

Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee successful Texas, crashed Abbott's property league Wednesday and berated the politician implicit his handling of the wide shooting. After O'Rourke was escorted from the room, Abbott called for Americans "to not absorption connected ourselves and our agendas" but alternatively absorption connected healing.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., connected Thursday greeting called Abbott "an implicit fraud" for those "empty platitudes," portion noting that the politician was acceptable to talk astatine the NRA league 2 days later.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, said Thursday that his metropolis could not cancel the NRA convention, which is scheduled to past the full weekend, due to the fact that it would "leave the metropolis taxable to a fig of ineligible issues."

"The greater question is wherefore are elected officials speaking there, and what connection does that send," Turner said. "You can't commune and nonstop condolences connected 1 time and spell and champion guns connected the next."