Updated May 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Beto O'Rourke interrupts Texas Gov. Abbott's press conference: "You're offering us nothing"

Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke (D) on Wednesday confronted Gov. Greg Abbott (R) during a press conference on the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school mass shooting, yelling, "You're offering us nothing!"

Why it matters: O'Rourke is challenging Abbott for the governorship and has been highly critical of the incumbent's support of gun rights.

What they're saying: “You are doing nothing. You are offering up nothing. You said this was not predictable. This was totally predictable when you choose not to do anything," O'Rourke said before he was kicked out of the press conference.

  • After O'Rourke interjected, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) told him to "sit down," while Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin called him a "sick son of a b**** that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue."
  • Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he was "out of line and an embarrassment."
  • O'Rourke yelled, "This is on you," toward Abbott and the other officials involved in the press conference as he was being escorted out.
  • Abbott spoke again after he was kicked out, saying, "There's no words anybody shouting can come up here — and do anything — to heal those broken hearts."

O'Rourke spoke again after he was removed, saying, "I want us to do something right now. We can do something right now. But if we continue to accept this, it is on us. It's not just the governor's fault, it is on us. I'm not going to accept it, so I'm here, I'm calling attention to it."

  • "And I'm calling on all Texans of good conscience — and I could care less whether you're a Republican, a Democrat or an independent — to stand up right now for yourself, for your kids, for our families and to stop the next shooting just like this one," he added.

The big picture: O'Rourke is from El Paso, Texas, where a gunman killed 23 people and injured 23 others in 2019.

  • Abbott promised to "do everything we can to make sure a crime like this doesn't happen again" after the El Paso shooting, but he and Texas legislators later loosened state gun laws, including passing legislation allowing people to carry concealed handguns without a permit, the Texas Tribune reports.

Go deeper: Remembering the victims of the Texas school shooting

Editor's note: Astrid Galván contributed reporting. This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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