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Several residents of Uvalde, Texas, still reeling from the elementary school mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, have spoken out against Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke’s attempt to derail the conference statement from Governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday.
Abbott had just finished speaking about the mental health resources available to survivors and first responders during Tuesday’s shooting when O’Rourke, a pro-gun control gubernatorial candidate, took the stage and accused Abbott of “doing nothing” to prevent these tragedies.
Some Uvalde residents criticized O’Rourke for trying to score political points during a moment meant to provide information and comfort to Uvalde’s families.
“Yeah, that’s bull—-, man,” one resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fox News. “People are grieving, trying to come to terms with their loss and Beto is running around doing this stuff. It’s bull —-, save it for later.”
THE MAYOR OF UVALDE CONDEMNS THE EXPLOSION OF BETO O’ROURKE
Fox News’ Lawrence Jones reported Thursday morning that “the city wasn’t happy about that.”
“And just to put it in context, it’s a Democratic area,” he said. “A lot of them are Democrats. It’s not even about politics. It’s about their loved ones. … He took this tragedy and made it about him.”
Jones said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, a Republican, asked before the press conference that the policy not be discussed.
“He had already given all of us a warning to not try to use this tragedy for some type of story,” Jones said. “He said to the politicians who were on stage, ‘This is my town.’ He had made it very clear to everyone in the room as well as to the press that he didn’t want any of that. And so Beto O’Rourke to come to this town and bring his politics, c was so shady, it was so sad, and I think a lot of grieving families didn’t think much of him after that.”
HuffPost reporter Daniel Marans also spoke with several people who criticized O’Rourke’s actions.
Cody Ytuarte, whose two cousins were killed in the shooting and another injured, was present at the press conference.
“There’s a time and a place to address certain things like that,” Ytuarte told HuffPost. “To do so at a time when the tragedy is being addressed so recently, to come in and act in this way is pure propaganda.”
HuffPost also spoke with Cris Vazquez and Brenda Hidalgo, two Republican residents of Uvalde, who said they were “appalled by what Beto did but support closing the background check loopholes.”
Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to criticize O’Rourke for Wednesday’s stunt.
McLaughlin, who called O’Rourke a “sick son of a b—-” as the event unfolded, told Fox News on Thursday morning: “This was neither the time nor the place to have that discussion. If he wants to have that discussion, that’s fine. But today, at this conference, was neither the time nor the place to do so.
McLaughlin acknowledged there was a “gun problem” and suggested greater specificity in background checks, but added that the mental health crisis in the United States needed to be addressed.
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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who was on stage during O’Rourke’s outburst, accused his former senatorial opponent of trying to turn the grim event into a “political rally.”
“I was shocked…it was disgusting,” Cruz told Fox News. “Trying to politicize it and make it a rally like Beto did – I saw a lot of rude behavior – it was embarrassing.”
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this report.
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