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Donald Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott set to speak at NRA convention after deadly school shooting

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 5/25/2022 Doug Cunningham

May 25 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who announced that 19 children were killed in a shooting attack at their school on Tuesday, is scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual convention this week just a few hours away in Houston -- as are a number of other high-profile Republicans.

The NRA convention is scheduled for Friday and is typically considered the gun lobby's highest-profile event of the year. As of Wednesday, it was still scheduled to go forward and Abbott was still scheduled to give an address there.

Also scheduled to speak at the event are former President Donald Trump, Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Republican North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

The event, which has been interrupted for the past two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be staged under the new cloud of Tuesday's elementary school shooting in Uvalde, which is located about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

The NRA website touted the politicians' scheduled appearances in a post that was put up before the school shooting. It called Abbott, Trump and the other speakers "star-studded political heavyweights." The website also promises that the convention will show off "over 14 acres of the latest guns and gear."

The convention and the Republicans who are planning to attend have received significant criticism since Tuesday's mass shooting, which killed 19 children and two educators.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and former President Donald Trump, pictured here in the Oval Office of the White House on May 7, 2020, are both scheduled to speak at the NRA convention in Houston this weekend. File Photo by Doug Mills/UPI/Pool

"Aren't you slated to headline a speaking gig for the NRA in three days -- in Houston, no less?" Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York asked in a tweet aimed at Cruz, who offered prayers for the victims after the school shooting.

"You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead."

The convention comes after NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre praised Trump earlier this month for delivering on promises to appoint federal judges who "respect and value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was also scheduled to appear at the convention, but has withdrawn due to a scheduling conflict. He said the change was not related to the school shooting.

After Tuesday's shooting, President Joe Biden made an impassioned plea for legislative action in Congress for common-sense reforms for gun control.

"We have to act," he said. "And don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage. I spent my career as a senator and a vice president working to pass common-sense gun laws.

"We can't and won't prevent every tragedy but we know they work and have a positive impact."

Authorities are still investigating what led to Tuesday's shooting and the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.

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