Republicans Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell slammed after Uvalde school shooting for taking NRA money

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In the hours after at least 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in the deadliest mass shooting at a US school in nearly a decade, Republicans of Congress joined the world in mourning the latest gun massacre.

But while some offered their thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, critics were quick to point out the millions of dollars that GOP lawmakers have taken from the National Rifle Association in contributions over the years.

According to data compiled by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2019.

Among the others is Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who expressed how “grief overwhelms the soulduring an attack like the one in Texas, and acknowledged on Twitter that his offer of prayers and condolences was “grossly insufficient” and that responses were needed. It didn’t take long for critics and liberals alike to slam Romney — who was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and who spoke at the NRA’s annual convention that year — for taking more $13 million in contributions to the NRA, according to Brady.

“Grief doesn’t overwhelm the soul like $13 million from the NRA overwhelms your bank account,” wrote Jemele Hill, a contributing writer for The Atlantic. “The answer you seek is the money you keep taking.”

Hours after the mass shooting in Uvalde, President Biden urged Congress to end the “carnage” of gun violence, pleading with lawmakers to “stand up to the gun lobby” and pass laws ” common sense” on firearms.

“What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for, other than to kill someone?” he asked in a Tuesday address to the nation.

21 killed in Texas school shooting; victims of the same fourth grade class

Biden, who was chosen by President Barack Obama to be his interlocutor on guns after the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, noted that he had just returned from Asia, where mass shootings do not occur with the same frequency.

“Why are we willing to live with this carnage? he said. “Why do we keep letting this happen? In the name of God, where is our backbone? »

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) moved Tuesday night to put two House-passed gun control bills on the House calendar.

Parents and community members in Uvalde, Texas rushed for information on student victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting on May 24. (Video: John Farrell/The Washington Post)

Spokespersons for McConnell, Portman and Ernst did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday. Romney spokeswoman Brianna Manzelli told The Washington Post that online criticism of the senator was off the mark.

“No one owns Senator Romney’s vote, as evidenced by his record of independence in the Senate,” she said in a statement.

The elementary school mass shooting and Biden’s call for lawmakers to fend off the gun lobby have drawn attention to the NRA, which holds its annual meeting on Memorial Day weekend in Houston, located a few hundred kilometers from Uvalde. The event is the biggest gathering of the gun lobby this year and comes after cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will include discussions from a panel that includes former President Donald Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Abbott is expected to be at Uvalde on Wednesday ahead of his speech at the NRA convention in Houston.

Trump to speak at NRA meeting in Texas days after school shooting

The NRA, which has more than 5 million members, is fighting a lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General accusing the group’s leaders of misspending millions of dollars.

Many critics have taken to social media to list how much money Republican lawmakers allegedly took from the NRA, but comedy writer Bess Kalb went a step further and tweeted out all of the GOP senators’ responses along with how much. they received campaign contributions from the gun lobby.

After McConnell tweeted how he was “horrified and heartbroken” by the shooting in Uvalde and how the country was praying for those affected, Kalb, the executive producer of Amazon Prime’s “Yearly Departed,” used Brady’s data to his one-sentence response: “$1,267,139 from the NRA.”

Kalb continued to respond to Republicans offering their thoughts and prayers — Ernst, Portman, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) — with the million-dollar figures of NRA contributions they received.

Others quickly followed the trend online. In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said “there are no adequate words to express the horror” of what happened in Texas. He echoed Romney in acknowledging that the condolences were not adequate, while also suggesting that more could be done.

“Obviously my sincere condolences, but that’s not enough. It’s depressing. Something that horrible, kids being slaughtered in their school, it can’t get any worse than that,” he said. “Again, my heartfelt condolences to these families.”

Nina Turner, a progressive leader who lost a Democratic primary in Ohio earlier this month, pointed to Johnson’s remark that “it doesn’t get any worse than this” and reminded people that he had taken over $1.2 million in NRA campaign contributions.

“It is, in fact,” she wrote Wednesday. “The adults in power (you) do nothing because the NRA paid you $1,269,486 to do nothing. You sacrificed the lives of those children for $1.2 million.

After Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Tex.), whose district includes Uvalde, asked voters to “pray for our families” and quoted a Bible verse, critics resurfaced a 2021 tweet in which the congressman proudly declared that he had “voted NO to two gun control measures in the House”.

“Pro-tip: Jesus would have you use your power as a legislator to act to stop gun violence in Uvalde instead of quoting the Bible in relation to while taking money from the NRA,” mentioned Shannon Watts, founder of gun violence prevention nonprofit Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Others took aim at GOP lawmakers who expressed anger over the shootings days before speaking at the NRA convention in Houston. When Cruz tweeted that he and his wife, Heidi, “were fervently raising children and families in prayer during the horrific shooting in Uvalde,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) questioned why the Uvalde senator Texas — which accepted at least $176,000 in NRA contributions — was yet to speak at the convention.

“You can do more than pray,” she said. tweeted. “Faith without works is dead.”

Adela Suliman and Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report

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