Senator Ted Cruz stormed off in the middle of an interview after a Sky News journalist asked why school mass shootings seem to “only happen in America” during a vigil for the 21 people killed at Robb Elementary School.
Mark Stone, a US foreign correspondent for the news outlet, asked the Texas senator after the vigil attended by hundreds mourning the 19 children and two teachers murdered on Tuesday if now was the time to enact reform on gun laws in the US.
“You know, it’s easy to go to politics,” said Mr Cruz, who is scheduled to deliver a speech at the National Rifle Association convention being held in Texas on Friday alongside the state’s governor.
The reporter then responded to the senator’s attempt to brush him off by emphasising that gun control was “important. It’s at the heart of the issue”.
Mr Cruz pivoted to say that gun control is where the media likes to turn the attention of Americans following mass shootings and then further deflected by talking about the man behind the killing – 18-year-old Salvador Ramos – and insisted that massacres like the one on Tuesday, which was just one week after a separate mass shooting in Brooklyn that left 10 people dead, are not because of the country’s gun laws.
“The proposals from Democrats and the media? Inevitably, when some violent psychopath murders people… if you want to stop violent crime, the proposals the Democrats have? None of them would have stopped this,” Mr Cruz said.
The teenage gunman barricaded himself inside a classroom before killing the fourth-grade students and their two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and had no known criminal history or history of mental illness. He was shot dead by an officer on the scene after around 60 minutes.
The reporter then grilled the senator further, digging into why the country that the senator alleged was the “safest country on Earth” had experienced 288 school shooting between 2009 and 2018.
“Why only in America? Why is this American exceptionalism so awful?” Mr Stone asked.
“You know, I’m sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful. You’ve got your political agenda. God love you,” Mr Cruz replied before storming away to dodge more of the reporter’s questions.
The Sky News team then followed the Texas lawmaker and continued to throw questions in his direction, specifically asking repeatedly why these kind of mass shootings seem to “only happen in America”.
As he and his team were darting away from the on-the-spot interview, Mr Cruz answered some of the reporter’s questions, calling the team “propagandists” and then closed by defending his claim from earlier that the US was one of the safest in the world by saying: “Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? Because it’s the freest, most prosperous, safest country on Earth.”
The NRA’s annual convention is still scheduled to run in Houston from Friday through till Sunday, with guest appearances expected from the Texas senator, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former US president Donald Trump.
Just hours of Tuesday’s devastating massacre, Mr Cruz reaffirmed to reporters what he told the Sky News journalist on Wednesday at the vigil for the slain students and teachers.
”Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” he said Tuesday. “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”