(The Hill) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has canceled his planned Friday live speech at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Houston following a deadly mass shooting at a Texas elementary school this week.
Abbott will hold a press conference at Uvalde High School at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, according to a press release from his office, around the same time as an event for which he is listed as a confirmed speaker on the NRA convention website.
The Texas governor will send a pre-recorded video to the summit in lieu of appearing in person at the convention center in Houston, which is about 300 miles away from Uvalde, according to The Dallas Morning News, which cited a spokesperson for Abbott.
The convention will still be attended by prominent Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and former President Donald Trump.
The NRA has faced calls to cancel the event after the mass shooting at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Abbott, who has worked to loosen gun laws in Texas, was slammed for his scheduled appearance at the NRA summit, which was slated to take place just days after the Tuesday tragedy in the state.
On Wednesday, Abbott deflected a question about his planned appearance at the convention during a press conference, saying he was living “moment to moment.”
Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, who got into a confrontation with Abbott during a press conference after the mass shooting, called on the governor to immediately withdraw from the event.
“Governor Abbott, if you have any decency, you will immediately withdraw from this weekend’s NRA convention and urge them to hold it anywhere but Texas,” O’Rourke tweeted.
O’Rourke is planning to attend a protest outside the NRA convention center on Friday along with several organizations.
Others have also canceled appearances at the convention, including country singers Larry Gatlin and Larry Stewart and Don McClean, who is best known for his hit 1971 song “American Pie.”
Two other Republican lawmakers from Texas, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, also canceled appearances at the NRA summit, but they had reportedly planned to do so before the shooting.