Former President Donald Trump said he will still deliver his scheduled speech at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting in Houston on May 27, following the deadly school shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 students and two teachers.
“America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship. That’s why I will keep my longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention and deliver an important address to America,” Trump said in a statement released on his Truth Social account on May 25.
Trump added, “In the meantime, we all continue to pray for the victims, their families, and for our entire nation—we are all in this together!”
On May 24, Salvador Ramos shot his 66-year-old grandmother at home where he lived, before driving her car to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. He then used a semi-automatic rifle, which he purchased legally in March, to commit the mass shooting.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said there was “no meaningful forewarning” of the shooting, apart from three separate Facebook posts Ramos made before he arrived at the school, during a briefing on May 25. The final two posts said “I shot my grandmother” and “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
The NRA has since released a statement, saying its “deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime.”
“On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services,” the group said.
“Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure,” the NRA concluded.
The NRA meeting, hosted by the group’s Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), is scheduled to take place from May 27 through May 29 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is located about a four-hour drive east of Robb Elementary School.
According to Politico, two other scheduled speakers, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), have said they will not attend the NRA convention but not because of the mass shooting. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, still intends to give her scheduled speech at the event, according to the outlet.
According to the NRA, Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, and NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet are on the agenda as other confirmed speakers. It is unclear if Cruz still plans to attend the event.
“We’ve seen too many of these shootings. No parent should have to bear the pain of burying their child. We need to come together, as one nation, and support Uvalde as they try to heal from this devastating loss,” Cruz said in a statement following the shooting.
In May, when the NRA announced that Trump would speak at the convention, LaPierre said NRA members were “excited” to hear the former president speak, according to a statement.
“It is truly an honor to have President Trump address NRA members for the sixth time at our 2022 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Houston,” LaPierre said. “President Trump delivered on his promises by appointing judges who respect and value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and in doing so helped ensure the freedom of generations of Americans.”
In May 2018, Trump used his speech at the annual NRA meeting to rally supporters to vote for Republicans in the midterm elections.