Abbott booed at Uvalde memorial site: ‘We need change’
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) arrived at Robb Elementary School on Sunday to a crowd of booing onlookers, days after a gunman entered the school in Uvalde, Texas, and slaughtered 19 children and two teachers.
As Abbott approached the memorial, the crowd — composed of both local Uvalde residents and people from other areas — booed the governor, according to videos posted online.
“Please Gov. Abbott help Uvalde county,” one onlooker shouted. “We need change! We need change, governor!”
Abbott’s arrival came on the same day that President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited the scene of the massacre. The Bidens were greeted with cheers before they laid flowers at the memorial.
The first couple then went to Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, before someone shouted “Do something!” as they left the service.
“We will,” Biden said in response.
Abbott has also said he expects new laws to be enacted as a result of the elementary school shooting. But when pressed for detail about those measures, Abbott’s response centered on mental health, not gun reform.
“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing health care in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”
“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he added.
A Morning Consult and Politico poll conducted the day after the Uvalde shooting showed that 88 percent of respondents supported background checks on all gun sales.
Background checks have effectively blocked 4 million gun sales “to people prohibited by law from having guns,” according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Abbott’s Democratic opponent in November’s election, Beto O’Rourke, confronted him at a press conference on Wednesday.
“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said, feet away from Abbott. “You said this was not predictable, this was totally predictable, and you choose not to do anything.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin blasted O’Rourke during the encounter, yelling “I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a bitch who would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”