Left-wing actress and singer Bette Midler sparked outrage and major pushback after tweeting Saturday that people who wanted to protest the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston over the weekend should “come armed.”
Midler’s tweet came just days after the horrific mass murder of 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. The NRA tweet was among several she posted on Twitter.
AT THE GEORGE R BROWN CONVENTION CENTER IN HOUSTON TEXAS, THIS WEEKEND. Come armed. https://t.co/QNUJkLGEqh
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) May 25, 2022
The NRA had previously announced that attendees to the convention could be armed, but they could not carry weapons inside the General Assembly Hall for the Friday Leadership Forum session because former President Donald Trump spoke to them in person and the U.S. Secret Service, which took over security for the occasion, prohibited that.
Several people online responded to Midler’s grossly irresponsible statement, as you might imagine.
Hard to imagine a more irresponsible, monumentally stupid tweet than this.
— Dr. Jonny Republic If You Can Keep It 🇺🇸 (@JonDougherty10) May 30, 2022
19 children and 2 adults just died from gun violence yesterday and you’re cracking a joke about “come armed”? …at least I HOPE it’s a joke.
— 🇺🇦 Donna Whitman 🇺🇦 (@NSBooklady2) May 25, 2022
She’s gonna get people killed. Massively irresponsible.@TwitterSupport
— Ryan Shaffer (@ShafferPepperCo) May 25, 2022
No, no, no. Don’t do this. Don’t go armed and don’t listen to her suggestion to act like it’s Jan 6. This is the wrong take.
— Frances (@pennyblab) May 25, 2022
Oops, I meant that ❤️ for the guy who said no, no, no. Oh my gosh Bette. Don’t act like a Republican!!! It’s so unbecoming.
— Eileen Richards (@ScottieladyE) May 25, 2022
If someone does show up and shoots at people at this convention, I hope the police arrest you for this tweet.
— the sun will shine on us again (@sanfilti) May 25, 2022
Calling for more gun violence at the NRA convention doesn’t help us heal over the shootings. You are calling for more innocent people to be victims. This doesn’t do anything to get us united. NRA teaches how to use guns properly & store them properly.
— Stormie (@Boo_Frog) May 26, 2022
Prior to her tweet, Houston police were already preparing for a large number of protests related to the convention. Some video posted online showed a large crowd gathered outside the convention hall on Friday as the event began.
Several people who were scheduled to attend and/or perform there chose to cancel following the Uvalde shooting.
That included “American Pie” singer-songwriter Don McLean and “God Bless the USA” singer Lee Greenwood. Also, Gov. Greg Abbott pulled out as well to address the situation.
“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” McLean said in a statement to the paper. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans.”
In addition, Daniel Defense — the manufacturer of the gun used in the Uvalde massacre — on Wednesday withdrew from the convention.