Rep. Ronny Jackson, speaking about the deadly school shootings in his state of Texas, told Newsmax on Friday that he believes that a look must be taken at the "moral decline" in the United States as the root cause of such violent acts.
"I think that's a big part of what's going on here," the Republican said on "National Report." "We've gotten away from family and from God, community, and those are things that we must we have to embrace again. That's what made this country great and what made this country safe."
Jackson, who served as the White House physician under former President Donald Trump, said he grew up in a small town about the size of Uvalde, where on Tuesday an 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, but he can't imagine something like that happening in his town.
"Things have changed now," Jackson said. "Our kids are exposed to a lot of stuff that is harmful to them with video games, these violent video games that they're exposed to at a very early age, and I've said before, some of the lyrics in the rap music and stuff that they listen to is not healthy, and we need to address this kind of stuff. This is what's causing a lot of these problems."
Meanwhile, there are renewed calls for gun control laws, after the shootings in Texas and in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket earlier this month, including reports that there are Republicans and Democrats who would agree to change age requirements to buy automatic weapons such as those the teenage murder suspects used, raising the legal purchase age from 18 to 21.
Jackson, who is seeking reelection in Texas' 13th Congressional District, said he's willing to listen to anything the Democrats have to say and he hopes they are willing to listen to Republicans' suggestions.
"We need to be open-minded about this, but I will not back down on a second on the Second Amendment and our right to own and bear arms here in this country," said Jackson. "Taking firearms away from legal, law-abiding citizens is not the answer. That just leaves all the criminals with the weapons and the law-abiding citizens without any to defend themselves with."
Jackson also on Friday denied any wrongdoing in connection with a House Ethics Committee investigation of the use of campaign contributions to pay membership dues at a private club.
The New York Times this week reported that congressional ethics investigators say they have "substantial" proof that Jackson used campaign donations to pay for himself an his wife to have unlimited access to the Amarillo Club in Amarillo, Texas. According to the Office of Congressional Ethics, such use would be a violation of Federal Election Commission regulations.
"There's no misspending of campaign funds in this, and they know this," Jackson said. "This is part of the left attack on outspoken Republicans where they come after us. … All they're really trying to do is cost you time, cost you money, and generate headlines. Every penny I've spent has been spent appropriately and has been spent in keeping with the ethics guidelines."
The information was gleaned from spending disclosures, Jackson said, and "yes, you are allowed to do such things as having the membership at a place like that, if the membership fees are cheaper than what it would cost to rent out the facility for campaign events. … I've been to that place about three times and they've all been associated with official campaign events.
''My family's never even set foot in the place related to for this stuff. My wife has been with me the campaign events, but I've never used any of my campaign funds for personal use, period."
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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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