Following a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, May 24 — which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers — Republicans scrambled to find ways to show that they were being proactive, but without promoting gun control and without saying or doing anything that might offend the National Rifle Association (NRA). House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is hoping to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker if Republicans retake the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms, tried to sound in-charge and on top of things during a May 26 appearance on Fox Business. But his recommendations — diverting COVID-19 funds and having fewer open doors at schoolhouses — are drawing both criticism and mockery on Twitter.
McCarthy told Fox Business host Sean Duffy, “Well, it’s just tragic what happened down there. We learn something new every day about how can we improve…. If the school was on lockdown, could the doors have been locked where he couldn’t have gotten in?”
The House minority leader and California Republican went on to tell Duffy — a former GOP congressman who served in the U.S. House via Wisconsin for eight years — “And remember, Sean, there are billions of dollars sitting out there, after COVID, for schools. We should redirect that money to allow the schools to use that to have one central point of entrance to protect these kids from a lot of different areas and different items going forward. But these are things we should be able to look at to solve. And we’ve really got to be focusing on mental health as well.”
McCarthy’s suggestion that federal anti-pandemic efforts be defunded comes at a time when COVID-19 is surging again. On May 19, NPR’s Selena Simmons-Duffin reported, “Cases of COVID-19 are — yet again — on the rise. The U.S. is seeing an average of more than 100,000 reported new cases across the country every day. That’s nearly double the rate a month ago and four times higher than this time last year.”
The United States, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, recently reached a grim milestone: more than 1 million deaths from COVID-19. Worldwide, Hopkins reports, the number of COVID-19-related deaths is higher than 6.2 million. Hopkins’ figures show that just under one of out of six deaths from COVID-19 has occurred in the U.S.
Attorney Walter Shaub, who formerly headed the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, and others noted that McCarthy’s suggestion is problematic from a fire safety standpoint:
Luke Zaleski, legal affairs editor at Condé Nast, noted how clumsy and awkward GOP messaging has been on the Uvalde tragedy:
Here are some more tweets slamming or mocking McCarthy’s suggestions:
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