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As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) attended a vigil Wednesday for the victims of the bloodbath in Uvalde, Tex., he stormed away from an interview after he was requested by a British journalist why mass shootings occur “solely in America.”

Cruz joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and different native and state leaders at a vigil for the 19 youngsters and two adults killed within the Tuesday mass taking pictures at Robb Elementary Faculty. Cruz, who’s among the many Republicans vehemently against proposals from Democrats on increasing background checks on gun gross sales, has known as for elevated security in faculties and has condemned “political posturing” within the aftermath of the assault. He’s additionally the lawmaker whose campaigns or political motion committees have accepted essentially the most cash from the gun rights foyer, in line with the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

Throughout an interview with British Sky Information reporter Mark Stone, Cruz, who was seen hugging and assembly with these on the vigil, was requested whether or not this was the second to reform gun legal guidelines. Cruz responded by saying, “, it’s simple to go to politics.”

“But it surely’s vital, it’s on the coronary heart of the difficulty,” Stone replied, in line with a video of the interview considered greater than 1 million instances as of Thursday morning.

State and native lawmakers on each side of the aisle commented on the occasions surrounding a mass faculty taking pictures in Uvalde, Tex. On Might 24. (Video: Adriana Usero/The Washington Publish)

From there, the 2 had a tense back-and-forth about gun reform legal guidelines.

“I get that that’s the place the media likes to go,” Cruz mentioned.

The Sky Information reporter replied that that was not the case, saying lots of the individuals he spoke with on the vigil additionally had gun management on their minds.

“The proposals from the Democrats and the media inevitably, when some violent psychopath murders individuals …” Cruz mentioned, earlier than he was lower off by Stone. The journalist mentioned that the alleged shooter was “a violent psychopath who’s capable of get a weapon so simply — an 18-year-old with two AR-15s.”

The senator ignored him and continued: “If you wish to cease violent crime, the proposals the Democrats have — none of them would have stopped this.”

Then Stone requested, “Why does this solely occur in your nation? …. Why solely in America? Why is that this American exceptionalism so terrible?”

That’s when Cruz fired again: “, I’m sorry you assume American exceptionalism is terrible. You’ve received your political agenda. God love you.”

As he tried to stroll away, Stone mentioned he simply wished “to grasp why you don’t assume that weapons are the issue.”

“It’s simply an American drawback,” the journalist mentioned to Cruz.

On the finish of the change, Cruz once more ignored the journalist’s query and accused Stone of pushing propaganda earlier than strolling away.

“Why is it that individuals come from all around the world to America? As a result of it’s the freest, most affluent, most secure nation on Earth,” the senator mentioned. “Cease being a propagandist.”

A Cruz spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark early Thursday.

The fiery change comes shortly earlier than Cruz is scheduled to talk on the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation’s annual assembly over Memorial Day weekend in Houston, a number of hundred miles away from Uvalde. The occasion is the biggest gun-lobby gathering this yr and comes after cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. It would additionally characteristic talks from a bunch that features Abbott and former president Donald Trump.

Gun-rights teams have given Cruz’s campaigns or PACs greater than $442,000 throughout his profession, essentially the most of any lawmaker between 1989 and 2020, in line with Federal Election Fee information from 2021 cited by OpenSecrets. Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) are two of the highest three lawmakers to obtain monetary contributions from gun-rights supporters, in line with Axios.

Cruz has confronted criticism from Democrats and liberals in latest days after he tweeted his ideas and prayers to the victims, saying he and his spouse, Heidi, had been “fervently lifting up in prayer the kids and households within the horrific taking pictures in Uvalde.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) questioned why Cruz was nonetheless scheduled to talk on the NRA conference, whereas Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) tweeted a four-letter expletive to the Republican senator.

On Wednesday, Cruz was among the many Republicans at Abbott’s information convention in Uvalde when Democratic Texas gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke interrupted the governor to inform him he was “doing nothing” to cease the following mass taking pictures. Cruz, who was standing behind Abbott, instructed O’Rourke to “sit down” because the Democrat was escorted out of the auditorium.

Beto O’Rourke confronts Abbott in Uvalde: ‘You’re doing nothing’

“That is on you. Till you select to do one thing, this can proceed to occur,” O’Rourke mentioned to Abbott, who largely prevented eye contact with the Democrat and didn’t reply. “Any individual wants to face up for the kids of this state, or they may proceed to be killed.”

Cruz additionally received the eye of one among his favourite sparring companions, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. On ABC, Kimmel supplied an emotional enchantment to Cruz and Republicans to go legal guidelines that might assist stop future mass shootings. Whereas background verify payments like H.R. 8 have handed within the Home, Senate Democrats and specialists are pessimistic {that a} deal may very well be executed to go it into legislation.

H.R. 8 gun background verify invoice in all probability gained’t go, even after Uvalde

“I don’t consider Ted Cruz doesn’t care about youngsters. I don’t. I refuse to consider he’s unaffected by this. He’s a father. I wager he went to mattress sick to his abdomen final night time. It’s simple to name somebody a monster. However he’s not a monster — he’s a human being. And a few individuals may not like listening to me say that, but it surely’s true,” Kimmel mentioned. “So right here’s the factor I wish to say to Ted Cruz, the human being, and Governor Abbott, and everybody: It’s okay to confess you made a mistake. In truth, it’s not simply okay, it’s essential to admit you made a mistake when your mistake is killing the kids in your state.”

He added, “It takes a giant individual to do one thing like that. It takes a courageous individual to do one thing like that. And do I believe these males are courageous individuals? No, I don’t. I don’t. However man, I’d find it irresistible in the event that they shocked me.”

However on Fox Information, Cruz slammed what he known as “political posturing” from Democrats like O’Rourke after the assault in Uvalde. He instructed host Jesse Watters that he needs faculties to put in bulletproof doorways and bulletproof glass to assist stop shootings.

“Have one door into and out of the varsity and have that one door, armed cops at that door,” Cruz argued. “If that had occurred, if these federal grants had gone to this faculty, when that psychopath arrived, the armed cops might have taken him out and we’d have 19 youngsters and two lecturers nonetheless alive.”

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