NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
BEDFORD, N.H. – Former Vice President Mike Pence is criticizing President Biden and congressional Democrats for what he argues is an attempt to “politicize this national tragedy,” after this week’s school shooting in Texas.
Nineteen students and two teachers were killed Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, by an 18-year-old gunman. I
In the 24 hours after the latest mass shooting, President Biden and numerous Democrats in Congress have once again pushed for passage of stricter gun measures, which Republicans have repeatedly blocked.
Pence, speaking Thursday at a luncheon and fundraiser hosted by the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women, said, “Not surprisingly, President Biden and the Democrats have already sought to politicize this national tragedy. Predictable calls for gun control.”
Pushing back against the Democrats’ calls for tougher restrictions on the purchasing of guns, the former vice president argued “guns are not responsible for these heinous crimes. The gunmen who committed these murderous acts are responsible for these heinous crimes.”
“Eroding the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens is not the answer,” Pence added.
Saying “I believe there are answers,” Pence then highlighted the Stop School Violence Act, which Congress passed after the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were slain. It provided funding to institute safety measures in and around public schools and help teachers and law enforcement personnel identify potential threats prior to violence.
Pence argued that “while the left returns to their usual argument in the wake of such tragic moments … we should come together, we should make our school safer, we should address the scourge of mental illness, we should strengthen families, support law enforcement and end the scourge of mass shootings in our schools, in our churches, in our public places.”
The Democratic National Committee took issue with the former vice president’s criticism.
“The Trump-Pence administration spent four years completely beholden to the NRA, championing the gun lobby’s goals and promising gun reform to shooting victims before meeting with the NRA, caving and reversing their position,” DNC spokesman and rapid response director Ammar Moussa argued.
Moussa charged that “Pence’s shameless parroting of NRA talking points is a reminder Republicans will consistently choose the gun lobby over our children.”
After speaking at the luncheon, Pence held a roundtable discussion at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics with members of New Hampshire law enforcement. He also gathered briefly at a coffee shop in Bedford with a group of social conservatives.
Pence was in New Hampshire to support and raise money for fellow Republicans running in this year’s elections. He’s set to cap his visit by headlining the Rockingham County GOP’s annual Founders Freedom fundraising dinner.
The former vice president — pointing to past GOP tidal wave midterm elections — predicted at the luncheon that “we are looking at a tidal wave at a scale we haven’t seen since 2010 and maybe since 1994.”
He also took aim at Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., whom Republicans view as vulnerable as she seeks re-election this year. And he gave a pitch for GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, who had a strong working relationship with Pence during former President Donald Trump’s administration.
“It’s time to retire Maggie Hassan and have a Republican majority in the Senate. It’s time to re-elect Gov. Chris Sununu, and it’s time to win back America,” Pence told the audience.
Sources close to the former vice president tell Fox News to expect Pence to pick up the pace on the campaign trail this summer and autumn, now that he’s nearly finished writing an autobiography that is expected to be released at the end of this year.
On Monday, Pence headlined a primary eve rally with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who on Tuesday crushed GOP challenger former Sen. David Perdue in the gubernatorial primary.
Pence’s trip to New Hampshire, which for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House, may be a sign the former vice president is gearing up for a presidential bid of his own in 2024, regardless of what Trump does.
The trip was Pence’s third to New Hampshire in the year and a half since the end of the Trump administration. Pence has also made multiple stops in Iowa, whose caucuses for half a century have kicked off the presidential nominating calendar, and in South Carolina, which holds the third contest.