The NRA’s annual meetings are set to begin at the George R. Brown Convention Center just days after a mass shooting at a elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School.
"After prayerful consideration and discussion with NRA officials, I have decided not to speak at the NRA breakfast this morning,” Patrick said in a statement released Friday morning, just hours before the three-day event was set to begin.
The lieutenant governor specifically mentioned the victims and families as part of his reason for deciding to withdraw.
“While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” he said in a statement. “This is a time to focus on the families, first and foremost.”
Governor Greg Abbott also won't be in-person at the even, instead leaving a a video message to be played at the NRA convention. He said he will be in Uvalde to hold a press conference Friday afternoon.
The lieutenant governor’s announcement means that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will be the only major Texas Republican attending the convention in-person.
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to headline the event.
Contributions to NRA and gun lobby
Over the course of his political career, which began in 2012, Cruz has accepted $176,284 in political donations from the NRA, according to the nonprofit group OpenSecrets and the Texas Ethics Commission.
Gov. Abbott has accepted $16,200 in political donations from the NRA and the Texas State Rifle Association over the course of his political career, which began in 2002.
John Cornyn, who canceled his appearance at the NRA prior to the mass shooting in Uvalde, has received $583,816 from the NRA over his 20-year political career, according to OpenSecrets.org. Dan Crenshaw, who also withdrew from the NRA Convention before the Uvalde mass shooting, has received $5,665 from the NRA since 2018, per OpenSecrets.org.
Open secrets also has the total for members of Congress from all gun rights during their career. Cruz is #1 in Congress, Cornyn #3 and Crenshaw #19.