Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who won the Republican primary for Arkansas governor, used her victory speech on Tuesday to call for a ban on abortions while mourning the Texas school shooting deaths.
Ms Sanders said that the shooting in Texas’ Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, in which at least 19 children and 2 adults were killed, was a “stark and humbling reminder of just how precious life is”.
“Every single life has value and the most vulnerable among us are the ones we should be fighting for and protecting the most,” she added.
“I can assure you that in my administration, that’s exactly what we will do. We will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in the classroom, the workplace, the nursing home, because every stage of life has value.”
Ms Sanders has been vocal against gun control measures in the past.
Former president Donald Trump had publicly encouraged Ms Sanders to run for governor when she left the White House in 2019 to return to her home state.
During her two years as Mr Trump’s spokesperson, Ms Sanders used the White House briefing room to take aim at Democrats on issues such as immigration and crime. She remained a controversial figure during that time and was often seen sparring with reporters. She also faced criticism for being evasive.
In her speech on Tuesday, however, she did not mention her former boss.
In 2019, the former president had praised Ms Sanders as a “warrior.”
“Sometimes you have so many that it makes it more difficult. But we have some great – But Sarah was fantastic, and she is fantastic. She’s going to have a tremendous future. She has been a warrior, in a sense,” he had said.
Ms Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a pastor who ran the state for nearly a decade.
Earlier in the day, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene jumped into the fray with a call to oppose new gun control efforts after news of the school shooting broke in Uvalde, Texas. She took to Twitter to declare that more efforts to restrict America’s rampant gun ownership, which far outpaces other countries that do not see such violence, were not necessary.
Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has attacked “pro-life” Republicans for inaction on gun control in the wake of the school shooting.
The Congresswoman from New York took to Twitter to slam those GOP politicians more concerned with overturning abortion rights than protecting American citizens from gun violence.
“There is no such thing as being ‘pro-life’ while supporting laws that let children be shot in their schools, elders in grocery stores, worshippers in their houses of faith, survivors by abusers, or anyone in a crowded place. It is an idolatry of violence. And it must end,” she tweeted.
Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest school shooting ever in Texas, after a gunman killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Houston four years ago.
It is also the deadliest attack on a US elementary school since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 students and six teachers.
Additional reporting by agencies