Greg Abbott Cancels NRA Convention Appearance as Uvalde Anger Rises

Texas Governor Greg Abbott will skip a National Rifle Association (NRA) event in Houston, Texas on Friday and instead make another visit to the town of Uvalde where a recent school shooting left 21 people dead.

Abbott, a Republican, had been scheduled to appear at the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) Leadership Forum but he will now address the event in prerecorded remarks.

"The governor will be addressing the NRA through prerecorded video," Abbott spokesperson Mark Miner said.

The governor will instead make a return visit to Uvalde in the wake of the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in which 19 children and two adults were killed by the alleged gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.

His decision comes amid rising anger about the Uvalde shooting and questions about the nature of the police response. There has also been confusion about the timeline of events at Robb Elementary School.

Abbott, who is seeking a third term as governor, had faced pressure and criticism for not canceling his appearance at the NRA event after the shooting. His spokesperson announced on Wednesday that all campaign and political events would be postponed.

There is mounting anger about events surrounding the Uvalde shooting as Texas Department of Public Safety official reported on Thursday that the shooter was not confronted by police before entering the school, contradicting previous information provided by authorities.

However, it had not been clear on Wednesday and Thursday if Abbott was canceling his appearance at the NRA event. When he was asked about it at a press conference on Wednesday, the governor said: "As far as future plans are concerned...I'm living moment to moment right now, my heart, my head and my body are in Uvalde right now and I'm here to help the people who are hurting."

Abbott also caused controversy by briefly attending a fundraising event at a private home in Walker County on Tuesday night after he'd been informed about the elementary school shooting.

The governor will give a press conference on Friday at 3.30p.m. CDT (4.30p.m. ET), while he was slated to speak at the NRA event at 2.37p.m CDT (3.37p.m. ET) and it's likely his video message will be shown at that time.

He was scheduled to appear immediately after NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and before South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Former President Donald Trump is the most high-profile Republican who will be attending the event, while Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, is also slated to attend.

Abbott has touted his support for gun rights and last year signed a law that allows legal gun owners in Texas over the age of 21 to carry handguns in most public places without training or a license.

Newsweek has asked Greg Abbott's campaign for comment.

Update 05/27/22 04.05 a.m. E.T.: This article was updated to include more information.

Greg Abbott Speaks at a Meeting
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during the Houston Region Business Coalition's monthly meeting on October 27, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Abbott will not appear in person at an NRA event on Friday. Brandon Bell/Getty Images