One would believe that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott would go above and beyond in showing up for the grieving families left after the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting. However, as ABC News obtained his schedule, Abbott did not attend a single funeral for the 19 children and two teachers who died in the tragedy.
To say that these families have been going through constant pain would be an understatement. The Texas House Committee released its preliminary report and found that 376 officers failed to engage with the shooter for various reasons. Recent footage also showed the officers failed to engage with the shooter for almost 70 minutes. As Chron notes, the last funeral held in Uvalde for victims was on June 16 for 11-year-old Layla Salazar. While Abbott’s schedule displays that the Governor did attend a community worship event on June 5, it doesn’t show he attended any of the funerals from May 25 to June 14. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez was highly critical of the Governor’s lack of presence during his appearance on MSNBC Monday.
“I don’t want this to sound like some political assault on him, but at the end of the day he hasn’t been there since Day 5, when the president came... We had a failed response on giving resources to families,” Gutierrez said. “He did not go to one single funeral—and quite honestly, many of the families didn’t want him there.”
The families have also spoken out about Abbott’s lack of communication. Angel Garza, the father of 10-year-old victim Amerie Jo Garza, alleged that “since this happened, Gov. Abbott has yet to reach out.”
Also, from Chron:
“We’ve had Sen. Gutierrez in our living room, willing to come and talk to us,” Garza said. “We’ve had Beto O’Rourke coming to our private meeting to fight with us. He marched with us. That means something to us. The fact that you’re reaching out to see how we’re doing means something to us.”
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Unfortunately, the criticisms don’t stop there—Sen. Gutierrez also spoke to CNN and claimed Gov. Abbott has “done nothing but put obstacles in [the way of] this district attorney, and other people” regarding the Uvalde investigation. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said despite reaching out to Governor Abbott on many occasions, he has not heard from him in four weeks.
“The Department of Public Safety director has a direct report to Greg Abbott. Greg Abbott has the power—and by the way, I’m sure Greg Abbott saw those videos a long time before we all did—but he has a direct power to go and ask for accountability and direct power to go ask, ‘What happened here?’” Gutierrez said on Monday.
“He has the direct power to get any kind of report that he wants,” he added. “He’s the governor of the state of Texas, and he has refused to step in.”
A spokesperson for Gov. Abbott, Renae Eze, pushed back on those claims saying Abbott speaks to McLaughlin and Uvalde leaders daily and more in a statement.
“Governor Abbott has been to the community multiple times, visiting with every family who requested a meeting and joining his fellow Texans to grieve and worship at events into June. Many families requested private funerals, and the Governor and First Lady instead sent flowers and condolences to let the loved ones know they remain in their prayers.”