19 children and two adults were killed in the tragedy on Tuesday. In a video of the presser, O’Rourke can be heard telling Abbott the shooting is “on him.” O’Rourke appeared to get into a heated exchange with Abbott, who was joined by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Uvalde’s Mayor Don McLaughlin.
“You are doing nothing,” O’Rourke can be heard saying in the clip. Patrick says, “You’re out of line and an embarrassment.” At one point, McLaughlin suggests O’Rourke is a “sick son of a bitch” for making a scene.
O’Rourke was escorted out of the press conference by security shortly after the encounter. Just as he went to leave, he told the governor, “This is on you until you chose to do something.” The mayor, in response, said the shooting was “on assholes like you,” the Independent reported.
Shortly after O’Rourke was escorted out of the building, Abbott called on people to “put aside personal agendas” while responding to the shooting. “We need to focus on the healing and hope that we can provide to those who have suffered unconscionable damage to their lives,” the Republican said. “Think of somebody other than ourselves, think about the people who are hurt and help those who have been hurt.”
Abbott, who has appeared to blame “mental health” as the cause behind the shooting, is set to give a talk at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston this weekend.
“It is absolutely wrong. In fact, it is insane, the governor talks about mental health,” O’Rourke told reporters after he was escorted out. “It is insane that we allow an 18-year-old to go in and buy an AR-15. What the hell did we think he was gonna do with that? This one is on us. … Now is the time to stop the next shooting. Right after Santa Fe High School was a time to stop the next shooting. Right after El Paso was a time to stop the next shooting. [Right] after Midland Odessa was a time to stop the next shooting. In each case we say this isn’t the time. Now is the time. Like, literally right now. That’s why I’m here.””
O’Rourke, a 2020 presidential hopeful, will face off against Abbott in the 2022 gubernatorial election on Nov. 8. In the 2018 election, Abbott won with 55.8 percent of the vote against Democratic nominee Lupe Valdez.