Administration

White House officials, Senate Republicans decline Sunday news show appearances to talk Texas school shooting

The flags fly at half-staff over the White House
Associated Press/Alex Brandon
The flags fly at half-staff over the White House by order of President Biden on May 25, 2022, in Washington.

White House officials and Senate Republicans declined invitations to appear on Sunday news shows, days after the devastating shooting at a Texas elementary school left 19 children and two teachers dead.

On Sunday’s broadcast of “Face the Nation,” CBS’s Margaret Brennan said: “The White House did decline our invitation for a member of the administration to come on the show today saying they were leaving it up to Congress to act.

“CBS’ characterization is just flat out wrong,” Michael Gwin, a spokesperson for the White House, said in a statement to The Hill. ”Given the President’s visit to Uvalde, the White House broadcast team chose to speak with one voice this Sunday – that voice was the President’s.” 

“We’re using every tool at our disposal to save lives from gun violence, and the President is using the full weight of his bully pulpit to press for change, but we can’t do it alone, Congress needs to act,” Gwin added.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd said the network received a similar response to its invitation to all 50 GOP senators. 

“I should add, we asked each of the Senate’s 50 Republicans, every single one of them, to join us and none agreed on this weekend,” Todd said during his show on Sunday. 

Dana Bash said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the show “asked for a White House official to join us to talk about solutions this morning, but no one was made available,”  

“The governor and lieutenant governor of Texas and the state’s two U.S. senators also declined,” Bash added.

After Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, many Republican lawmakers have continued to focus on mental illness and have pitched upping security to harden schools against attacks.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) told reporters that targeting felons and fugitives and those with mental illness would be more effective than efforts “to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.“

Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual conference on Friday, Cruz also suggested “not having unlocked doors to classroom, having one door that goes in and out of the school, having armed police officers at that one door.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said on Friday that local law enforcement leaders made the “wrong decision” by waiting over an hour to breach the classrooms that the shooter entered. 

On Sunday, President Biden traveled to Uvalde, where he was expected to meet with survivors, victims’ families, law enforcement and first responders involved in the brutal shooting. 

After a Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, someone in a crowd of onlookers yelled “Do something!” as the president left the church.

“We will,” Biden responded.

Since the shooting, Biden has called on Congress to act on legislation to address gun violence. 

“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden said on Tuesday evening just hours after the shooting. “I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.” 

Updated: 9:22 p.m.

Tags Biden Biden administration Chuck Todd GOP gun violence Margaret Brennan Norah O'Donnell Senate Ted Cruz Uvalde school shooting
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