AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Gov. Greg Abbott is receiving criticism from some for not attending any of the funerals for the 21 victims who were killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde on May 24.
In a Monday interview with MSNBC, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, criticized the governor for not returning to Uvalde since the Sunday following the massacre, when President Joe Biden flew in to also attend a community vigil and pay respects to the victims’ families. That’s contrary to the governor’s public schedule, which indicates his last visit was on June 5 for a worship event.
“I don’t want this to sound like some political assault on him, but at the end of the day he hasn’t been there since day five, when the president came … we had a failed response on giving resources to families,” Gutierrez said. “He did not go to one single funeral, and quite honestly, many of the families didn’t want him there.”
Abbott’s spokesperson, Renae Eze, said many of the families had requested private funerals. She added the governor and his wife continue to mourn and pray for the families.
“Governor Abbott has been to the community multiple times, visiting with every family who requested a meeting and joining his fellow Texans to grieve and worship at events into June,” Eze said in an emailed statement. “Many families requested private funerals, and the Governor and First Lady instead sent flowers and condolences to let the loved ones know they remain in their prayers.”
Gutierrez told MSNBC several families of victims “have not been adequately taken care of” in terms of monetary assistance for compensation, as some still need time away from work while grieving.
“What we needed was actually an execution, a proper execution, of those state resources. We have families that have been given two weeks of lost wages by this [Uvalde] District Attorney. And that’s just wrong,” he said.
The governor’s office refuted the assertion that the state is not helping to get resources to the community.
“The Governor and his office remain in regular contact with Mayor McLaughlin and Uvalde leaders, speaking on an almost daily basis to ensure the Uvalde community is receiving the support and all available resources needed to heal. Every request made so far by the victims’ families and local leaders have been met, including providing a $5 million grant to be used at the discretion of local leaders for the long-term Family Resiliency Center,” Eze in a statement.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said Sunday he has not been in contact with Abbott in four weeks.
Jala Washington will have a full report looking into how financial assistance is being distributed to Uvalde families in need on KXAN at 6 p.m.