It’s a story of two Texans, with two differing reactions to the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in their state this week.
Senator Ted Cruz has angrily rejected any talk of gun-security measures and insisted that he speak Friday at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston. Senator John Cornyn has pulled out of his speech, pledging to try and find a compromise with Democrats on new gun laws.
The NRA’s convention begins in the shadow of two mass shootings perpetrated by gunmen with military-style assault rifles — the first in Buffalo, NY, the next in Uvalde, Texas, 300 miles from where the group is gathering.
One after another, Mr. Cornyn, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and Representative Dan Crenshaw, all Republicans, discovered scheduling conflicts that made their scheduled, in-person speeches unfeasible. Not Mr Cruz.
“I’ll be there because what Democrats and the press are trying to do in the wake of every mass shooting is they’re trying to demonize law-abiding gun owners, they’re trying to demonize the NRA,” Mr. Cruz told a CBS reporter ahead of the speech, scheduled for Friday afternoon.
He also advised that schools should respond to the massacre in Uvalde by making sure they have only one door to enter and exit, with an armed guard on duty.
Mr Cornyn canceled his speech – his office said he did this before the Uvalde massacre, after discovering a scheduling conflict – and declared on the Senate floor“I’m not interested in making a political statement. I’m not interested in the same old tired topics of conversation. I’m actually interested in what we can do to make the terrible events in Uvalde less likely in the future.”
Kentucky Republican Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell has ordered Cornyn, a close ally, to watch the high-stakes bipartisan talks on gun laws that could win at least 60 Senate votes to break a filibuster .
Should such a deal come true, the filibuster will likely be headed by his fellow Texas Republican, Mr. Cruz.