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Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for attending a campaign fundraiser hours after the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead in Uvalde.
“He was counting dollars while they were counting bodies,” O’Rourke, who is running as a Democrat against Abbott for governor, tweeted along with an article by the Texas Tribune.
Abbott acknowledged he went to the event around 300 miles from Uvalde, but said he only stopped by to say he couldn’t stay because of the shooting.
“On the way back to Austin, I stopped and let people know that I could not stay, that I needed to go, and I wanted them to know what happened and get back to Austin so I could continue to my collaboration with Texas law enforcement,” Abbott said during a press conference.
His team says all of his campaign events have since been canceled.
O’Rourke also disrupted an Abbott press conference earlier in the day, saying the shooting “is on you until you choose to do something different” before he was escorted out.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, a Republican who was sitting near Abbott during the press conference, called O’Rourke a “sick son of a b—- that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue” as O’Rourke was removed.
“That was not the time and place to have that discussion,” McLaughlin told Fox News’ Sean Hannity later. “If he wants to have that discussion, that’s fine. But today at that conference was not the time or place to do that.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick echoed McLaughlin’s sentiment.
“I could never imagine that on this day when we were there to not only disseminate information and learn more, but were there to be with these families, that he would pull such a political stunt,” Patrick said. “You know, I thought, and I said in my comments after he finally left, that can’t we have just one day, one week, one month of us all coming together for these children that’s not a political stunt, not partisan politics?”