Patrick released a statement just hours before the convention was to open on Friday morning, saying that he wants to focus on the families of the 19 children and two teachers who were brutally murdered by a gunman who entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday. The shooter was killed by Border Patrol agents.
“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.
“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,” Patrick continued.
“This is a time to focus on the families, first and foremost.”
Patrick joins Gov. Greg Abbott in not coming to Houston for the NRA convention, although Abbott is expected to send a pre-recorded video to be played at the convention. Abbott is in Uvalde and is expected to give a press conference about the shooting Friday afternoon.
Several other Republican lawmakers are still scheduled to speak at the convention, including former President Donald Trump, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Meanwhile, Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott, will participate in a rally against gun violence that will be outside the George R. Brown Convention Center in protest of the convention.