Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is not speaking in person on Friday afternoon at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, but will instead record a videotaped address for the event before returning to Uvalde, the site of the school shooting that claimed 21 lives on Tuesday.
Spokesman Mark Miner confirmed late Thursday that the governor will not be appearing in person at the convention, but that he will record his remarks before heading back to the South Texas community, reports The Dallas Morning News.
An advisory from Abbott's office late Thursday said he will be briefed and hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Friday on the state's efforts to support the Uvalde community, but did not mention the NRA event.
The GOP governor had been scheduled to speak during the NRA Leadership Forum at 2:37 p.m., after NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, and before South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, according to a convention schedule that was released on Thursday night. The schedule, however, did not specify whether his address would be prerecorded or if it was to be given in person.
Former President Donald Trump and several other key GOP speakers remain on the NRA convention schedule. On Wednesday, Trump said in a statement that he will keep his "longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention and deliver an important address to America."
Two Texas Republican lawmakers, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, also remained on the website as speakers. However, both had said before the Robb Elementary School shootings that they were pulling out of the event. Crenshaw said he's heading to Ukraine, while Cornyn cited a scheduling conflict.
Abbott, meanwhile, remains a strong proponent of gun rights. On Wednesday, in his first visit to Uvalde after the deadly shootings, he insisted that tighter gun laws in Texas would not prevent further shootings.
He also argued with Beto O'Rourke, his Democrat rival for the governor's seat, who appeared at the press conference to speak out after the shootings in a move that has been criticized by Republicans as a political stunt.
O'Rourke said late on Thursday that he will attend a rally against gun violence in Houston Friday that has been organized by the Harris County Democratic Party, along with several teacher unions and groups who advocate stricter gun laws.
The governor also was criticized this week when he did not cancel a campaign fundraiser on Tuesday night just hours after the killings, notes the newspaper. On Wednesday, a spokesman said his campaign activities have been put on hold until further notice.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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