Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described the ardently pro-gun Texas governor, Greg Abbott, as an “absolute fraud” in an indignant speech from the Senate floor on Thursday morning.
Schumer (D-N.Y.) piled on the governor one day after former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas, crashed a news conference in Uvalde and blasted Abbott for not doing enough to address gun violence in the wake of Tuesday’s mass shooting of children there.
“After Beto O’Rourke confronted Texas Gov. Abbott’s press conference, the MAGA governor gave some empty platitudes about healing and hope,” Schumer said. “He asked people to put aside their agendas and think about someone other than themselves.”
“How dare he? What an absolute fraud,” Schumer said, excoriating Abbott for a planned appearance at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston on Friday.
Abbott signed a package of laws last spring allowing Texans over the age of 21 to carry handguns without licenses and travelers to store firearms in their hotel rooms. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Schumer’s stinging speech.
On Wednedsday, Abbott sat quietly, his hands locked, as O’Rourke interrupted his news conference at Uvalde High School. “You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke said. “This is totally predictable.”
The mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin, a Republican, shouted at O’Rourke: “Sir, you are out of line!”
Nineteen children and two teachers died Tuesday in a gunman’s rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a small city about 80 miles west of San Antonio. It was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in almost a decade.
Democrats have pledged to push stricter gun laws in Washington in the wake of the classroom carnage, but Republicans have long resisted strict national firearm measures.
“Whether we come to agreement with the Republicans or not, we will have a vote,” Schumer said by phone on Wednesday, describing gun legislation. “But we want to give it a chance to see if Republicans can come to an agreement. Because they’re feeling some heat.”
On Thursday, he tried to turn up the heat on Abbott.
“Gov. Abbott, will you ask your MAGA buddies and your NRA pals to put aside their agendas and think about someone other than themselves?” Schumer asked in his speech.