GOP Guvs Scheduled To Speak At NRA Meeting Friday Appear Set On Attending

DALLAS, TEXAS - JULY 11: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 11, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a confer... DALLAS, TEXAS - JULY 11: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 11, 2021 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing current events and future political agendas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) MORE LESS

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) office confirmed to TPM on Wednesday that the GOP governor is still planning to speak at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Houston on Friday amid mounting outrage surrounding the event in the wake of the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), for his part, avoided addressing whether he would cancel his scheduled appearance at the NRA event during a press conference on the shooting on Wednesday. Abbott told reporters that he is “living moment to moment right now.”

Among the figures who were scheduled to speak at the NRA event, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) have told reporters that they have canceled their appearance. Both Cornyn and Crenshaw denied that the shooting informed their cancelations.

The GOP governors’ scheduled appearances at the NRA convention on Friday comes just after 19 children and at least two adults were murdered when a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and opened fire on Tuesday afternoon. The suspected gunman was killed by law enforcement at the scene.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, NRA confirmed its convention remains scheduled for Friday while an “investigation is underway and facts are still emerging.”

“We recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal,” the statement reads. “As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”

The NRA event comes as Democrats angrily call on Republicans to take action on gun violence in response to the latest school shooting.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, a heated exchange broke out when former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) confronted Abbott for his inaction on gun violence and his ongoing opposition to common sense gun control reform.

“Governor Abbott, I have to say something. The time that you could have stopped this was after Sante Fe High School. The next shooting is right now and you’ve done nothing. You are offering us nothing,” O’Rourke shouted, adding that the shooting was “totally predictable” and “preventable.”

In footage of the presser, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (who is also still scheduled to speak at the NRA event Friday) and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) are seen scolding O’Rourke. An unidentified person who appeared to be on stage at the press conference audibly blasted O’Rourke as a “sick son of a b****.”

O’Rourke was escorted out of the press conference by law enforcement.

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