Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will prerecord remarks ahead of the National Rifle Association’s Annual Leadership Forum in Houston on Friday, an event hemorrhaging headliners in the wake of the Tuesday shooting at a Texas elementary school.

Abbott had been expected to speak at the annual meeting in person, but he will instead return to Uvalde to meet with local residents and officials followed by a news conference in the wake of the horrific school mass shooting that killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.


"The governor will be in Uvalde today. He is sending prerecorded remarks to the convention," a representative for Abbott's gubernatorial reelection campaign confirmed to the Washington Examiner.

Abbott drew backlash for attending a fundraiser for his reelection campaign the night of the shooting. His Democratic challenger for the governorship, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, shouted at him over his position on guns during a press conference Abbott held Wednesday. Abbott has rebuffed those calls to restrict access to weapons, arguing more stringent gun laws in Chicago and Los Angeles have failed to stop gun crime.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick went a step further and dropped plans to appear at the conference altogether on Friday.

“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, per the Dallas Morning News. “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.”

The NRA's 2022 meeting will be one of its largest in-person gatherings in three years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the event has faced elevated scrutiny following the Uvalde shooting. A number of high-profile attendees, such as Larry Gatlin, Lee Greenwood, and Don McLean, dropped out of the event in light of the elementary school shooting, which was the worst school shooting in Texas history.


Other prominent figures held tight in their plans to attend the conference. Former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are still slated to speak at the meeting. Trump defended the scheduled appearance in a Truth Social post.

"America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship," he said in a post on Wednesday. "That's why I will keep my longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention and deliver an important address to America. In the meantime, we all continue to pray for the victims, their families, and for our entire nation — we are all in this together."