Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., called a journalist a "propagandist" on Wednesday before storming off from an interview about gun violence in the wake of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left nineteen children and two adults dead.
The interview came after a vigil for the victims of the massacre, where British journalist Mark Stone of Sky News approached Cruz to ask him if now was the time for gun reform.
"You know, it's easy to go to politics," Cruz replied. "The proposals from Democrats and the media? Inevitably, when some violent psychopath murders people… if you want to stop violent crime, the proposals the Democrats have? None of them would have stopped this."
Stone then asked the Texas senator why mass shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon.
"Why only in America?" Stone inquired. "Why is this American exceptionalism so awful?"
Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
"You know, I'm sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful. You've got your political agenda. God love you," Cruz shot back. "Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? Because it's the freest, most prosperous, safest country on Earth. Stop being a propagandist."
But Stone pressed on: "Senator, I just want to understand why you do not think that guns are the problem. It's just an American problem."
"You can't answer that, can you?" Stone added before Cruz walked out of the interview.
Later during an interview with CNN, Cruz suggested that the Democrats are attempting to "politicize" the tragedy. "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," he said.
Cruz is slated to make an appearance at a conference held by the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday in Houston.
In the past, countries like Canada, Norway, Australia, and Britain have clamped down on gun ownership shortly after mass shootings. According to The New York Times, such policies have historically diminished gun violence. The U.S., however, has been a notable laggard on this front, in large part because the Republican Party has worked hand in hand with the gun lobby to prevent meaningful reform. Congress has not passed any gun control legislation since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. But during this year alone, the U.S. has already seen over 200 mass shootings.