CNN host Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday confronted a Texas Republican congressman about inaction on gun violence, directly asking him why the state legislature appeared to be acting more aggressive in depriving women of the right to abortion than in protecting students.
“What we want to know is what your solution is,” said Assemblyman James White of Cameroon as he stood in front of her. Robbie Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students died on Tuesday. “We have all seen how quickly and creatively Texas — your local legislature — can act when it comes to protecting unborn embryos. Why not act with that courage to protect the 10-year-olds who are living, breathing in this school behind my back? ”
Camerata is consulting the state restriction law 2021prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and allows individuals to file civil lawsuits against those performing or facilitating an abortion procedure.
White, a state legislator for 12 years who recently lost a primary bid for the Texas agriculture commissioner, replied to Camerota: “We have this thing called the Constitution.” He then turned to point the finger at mental health issues, though Texas Governor Greg Abbott acknowledged that the shooter, Salvator Ramos, did not have any mental health issues.
“What we really need to look at is — whether it’s in Buffalo, or in Uvalde — these young men, for some reason, have some very dysfunctional emotional states,” said White. “We need to look at our mental health system.”
White’s comments reflect a common thread among Republicans about gun restrictions. In the hours following Tuesday’s massacre, conservatives argued that stricter gun laws won’t stop the violence.
However, White’s statement was immediately raised by anchor Victor Blackwell, who noted Abbott’s concession and pointed out that White received a 92% rating from the National Rifle Association. “They say this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal,” Blackwell said. “There is no evidence that there is any mental illness.”
White attempted to capture the manager’s comments, arguing that the word “deranged” refers to Blackwell also believing that mental illness was the cause. Going forward, White said, the legislature will look at “everything.”
“But at the end of the day, we’ll look at the people who do these acts, we’ll convict them, and we’ll punish them,” White said.
“You can’t blame him, sir,” Camerota replied. “You can’t blame him. He was killed. He was killed, with 19 kids in the school behind me.”