Biden administration officials and prominent Republicans turned down requests from Sunday morning news shows to talk about potential gun control measures this weekend amid renewed calls for Congress to take action in the wake of two horrific mass shootings in Texas and Buffalo that killed 31 people.
On CBS, “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan said the White House declined the show’s invitation to have a member of the administration appear on the grounds that they “were leaving it up to Congress to act.”
A White House spokesman disputed what they called Brennan’s “characterization.”
”Given the President’s visit to Uvalde, the White House broadcast team chose to speak with one voice this Sunday – that voice was the president’s,” Michael Gwin said in a statement to The Hill.
“We’re using every tool at our disposal to save lives from gun violence, and the president is using the full weight of his bully pulpit to press for change, but we can’t do it alone, Congress needs to act,” he said.
Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said all 50 Republican senators had turned down an invitation to appear opposite Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“We asked each of the Senate’s 50 Republicans, every single one of them, to join us and none agreed on this weekend,” Todd said while introducing the lawmaker.
Dana Bash, who anchored CNN’s “State of the Union” from Uvalde, Texas — where 19 students and two teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School — said the show reached out to the White House “but no one was made available.”
She also said Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and the Lone Star State’s two GOP senators – Ted Cruz and John Cornyn – also declined to appear.
A Fox News spokesperson told Mediaite that the White House also turned down interview requests from “Fox News Sunday.”
A number of GOP members of Congress did make appearances on the Sunday shows – including Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on CNN and CBS, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas on CNN, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama on “Fox News Sunday,” and Rep. Beth van Duyne of Texas on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Building anger and frustration over the Robb Elementary shooting boiled over Sunday during a visit to Uvalde by President Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Abbott.
As the Republican governor arrived at the school where a memorial had been erected for the 21 victims, mourners heckled him.
“Abbott is a son of a b—h,” said Aracely Villalpando, 59, of Fort Worth.
“It’s awful — he’s not doing anything about gun laws and wants everyone to own a gun,” she said. “A lot of people like guns, and that’s OK, but how can you sell a military rifle to the public?”
Later Sunday, as the president was leaving a service for the victims at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde, onlookers called on him to “do something.”
“We will,” he replied.
The shooting in Uvalde was carried out by Salvador Ramos, 18, who used an AR-15-style military assault rifle, the same type of weapon Payton Gendron, also 18, wielded during his rampage May 14 at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo that killed 10 people.