Rep. Ruben Gallego hurled profanity at Sen. Ted Cruz after the Texas Republican worried that Democrats and the media would use the massacre of elementary students Tuesday to curb gun rights.
In a series of coarse tweets reflecting the raw outrage at the slaying of at least 18 children and a teacher in Uvalde, Texas, Gallego, D-Ariz., also alluded to an infamous 2021 trip to Cancun, Mexico, Cruz took as his state grappled with massive blackouts following a winter storm.
"F--- you @tedcruz you care about a fetus but you will let our children get slaughtered. Just get your ass to Cancun. You are useless," Gallego wrote on his personal Twitter account.
Twenty-one minutes later, Gallego doubled down on the message:
"Just to be clear f--- you @tedcruz you f------ baby killer."
Gallego did so in response to remarks by Cruz reported by CNN.
"Inevitably when there's a murderer of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens," Cruz said.
Gallego later turned his anger at Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who had tweeted, "Our thoughts and prayers are with these families."
"F--- your prayers. They haven't worked for the last 20 mass shootings how about passing laws that will stop these killings," Gallego said.
Gallego also ripped Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., after she condemned the shooting.
"We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly," Sinema said in a statement. "No families should ever have to fear violence in their children's schools."
"Please just stop.. unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say 'thoughts and prayers,'" Gallego responded.
Gallego is viewed as a potential 2024 primary challenger to Sinema, who has angered many Democrats with her support of the legislative filibuster. That issue is often cast as the principal roadblock to a more aggressive agenda passing in Washington, though there other hurdles, such as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has previously balked at various measures, including gun controls.
Last year, House Democrats passed a bill that would effectively require background checks on private gun sales by involving gunmakers or gun dealers as third parties. That measure passed 227-203 with support from all but one Democrat and with eight Republicans.
It has stalled in the Senate, where it's unclear whether it could gain a simple majority because of Manchin's prior resistance on gun measures.
Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez said 18 children and three adults were dead based on a briefing by state police, he told the Associated Press. Three people wounded in the attack are hospitalized in serious condition, he said.
Gallego's anger, which included a similarly profane tweet at the National Rifle Association, overshadowed a more measured comment from his official account in which he said, "We have surrendered our communities and our children to an endless parade of tragedy. Enough with the thoughts and prayers: we must take action and confront gun violence."
For his part, Cruz issued a less politically charged statement shortly after news of the nation's latest mass shooting first broke. In it, Cruz said he and his wife "are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde." He also thanked the "heroic" police and first responders for their efforts at the scene.
The remarks by both Gallego and Cruz reflect the clear dividing lines on addressing America's mass shootings and the contempt each side seems to hold for the other, especially after flashpoint moments such as the Uvalde massacre or the apparently race-fueled rampage at a Buffalo grocery that left 10 people dead less than two weeks earlier.
Others in Arizona's congressional delegation retreated to less-insulting and more familiar rhetoric after the latest slayings.
Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., said she was "heartbroken to hear of the events in Uvalde, Texas today. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured, and their families."
Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., said, "We can't go on like this, waiting for tragedy to strike. It will, again and again, if we don't act. Words alone won't stop these tragedies. Congress must have the courage to protect our children and pass common sense gun safety laws. And we must do it right now."
Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., whose wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., survived a 2011 mass shooting that killed six, committed again to looking for legislation that can pass in an environment where little does.
"It infuriates me that Americans have come to expect that their federal government will once again react to the murder of schoolchildren by doing nothing," he said in a statement.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is running for the Republican nomination to challenge Kelly for the Senate, said, "Our prayers are with the victims and their families of the despicable act of violence in Texas this afternoon. We must all stand together against evil and those who target our most vulnerable."
Other Republican Senate hopefuls, such as Blake Masters and Jim Lamon, didn't immediately post statements about the Texas shooting.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Ruben Gallego hurls profanity at Ted Cruz after Texas school shooting