WASHINGTON — Actor Mathew McConaughey on Tuesday used the White House megaphone and his own star power to urge Washington leaders to address gun violence in honor of young victims of the mass shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
After meeting with President Joe Biden, McConaughey choked up sharing victims’ stories and pushing for action.
“This moment is different. We’re in a window of opportunity right now that we weren’t in before, a window where it looks like real change – real change – can happen,” he said. during an appearance in the White House briefing room.
McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas, the town where he said he was taught “to revere the power and ability of the tool we call a gun” – and where 19 children and two teachers were massacred at a primary school last month.
“They want their loss of life to count,” he said of the families of the victims he met.
McConaughey, who also spent time on Capitol Hill Tuesday said he came to Washington to share stories about his hometown, meet with leaders and urge them to talk to each other.
“Responsible gun owners are tired of the Second Amendment being abused and misused by deranged individuals,” said the actor, who has starred in numerous films including Dallas Buyers Club and The Wolf of Wall Street. . “It shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
Dressed in a black suit with a Texas pin stuck through a lapel, McConaughey spoke for 20 minutes, at one point slamming the lectern so hard it shook.
His wife, Camilla, held a pair of high-top green Converse sneakers in her lap, with a heart on the right toe, which belonged to one of the students. The shoes, he said, were “the only clear evidence that could identify him after the shooting.”
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McConaughey’s visit to the White House came on the same day Biden met with Sen. Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat leading negotiations with Senate Republicans on gun measures.
Murphy, who hopes to be able to reach an agreement by the end of the week, said he wanted to keep the president informed of the talks to ensure he signs off on any agreement.
Biden has signaled he would support legislation that can pass the narrowly divided Senate, even if it doesn’t include everything he wants.
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“He thinks every step is a step forward,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said Tuesday he encouraged talks to continue.
“Senator Murphy asked for space for bipartisan talks to continue, and I gave him that space,” Schumer told the Senate.
McConaughey appears on Fox News after his visit to the White House
After his White House appearance, McConaughey opened up to Bret Baier on Fox News about his “penetrating” experience in his hometown following the shooting.
“I’m not someone else from the entertainment industry who decided to move on (to the White House),” he said. “It happened in the town where I was born, so it got pretty personal to me.”
When asked if he harbors any political ambitions, the actor replied that he “is not running for political office”.
McConaughey also described what he considers reasonable gun control policies, including a waiting period after someone buys a gun, and said he thinks Americans don’t weren’t as politically divided as they might think.
“I think we’re being told we’re more divided than we are,” he said. “I believe the people I talk to on both sides are a lot more reasonable about things than we’re being told.”
‘Aggressively centered’: Which party does McConaughey belong to?
Last year, McConaughey considered the possibility of running for governor of Texas, but he ultimately gave up on the idea. He did not identify with either the Democratic or Republican party, but instead described himself as “aggressively centered”.
“Look, I’m a ‘Meet You in the Middle’ man,” he said last year in an interview with the Austin Statesman, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
“When I say ‘aggressively centered’ it sometimes boils down to ‘Oh, it’s a shade of gray, a compromise’.”
On Monday, The Austin American-Statesman published an essay by McConaughey calling on leaders to make “bipartisan compromises on a few reasonable steps to restore responsible gun ownership in our country.”
He said those measures included universal background checks, a nationwide waiting period to buy assault rifles, and an increase in the minimum to buy an assault rifle to 21. He has also backed “red flag” laws that allow courts to remove guns from those deemed a danger to themselves. or others.
“Is this a panacea? Hell no. But people are hurting,” McConaughey said Tuesday. “We must show courage and honor our immortal obligations instead of our partisan affiliations. Enough of the backlash.”
Contributor: Charles Trepany