It was a day unlike any other at the White House. Matthew McConaughey brought the press on the verge of tears.

On Tuesday afternoon, a celebrated, Oscar-winning actor who grew up in Uvalde, Texas, came to the White House to tell a story of the victims who died in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary. 

“Camille and I came here to share my stories,” McConaughey said at the beginning. “From my hometown, the valley came here to take meetings with elected officials on both sides of the aisle.”

McConaughey recalled the moment when he learned about the shooting. “I had been out of cellular range working in the studio all day when I emerged and messages about a mass shooting in the town I was born in began flooding my inbox,” he revealed. “In a bit of shock I drove home, hugged my children a bit tighter and longer than the night before.”

“How,” asked McConaughey, “can we make the loss of these lives matter?”

“We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21. We need a waiting period for those rifles. We need red flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them,” said McConaughey.

“We need to restrain sensationalized media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values. And we need responsible gun ownership.”

McConaughey told America moving details from the lives of each victim. Camila McConaughey was holding in her lap for the duration of her husband’s speech green Converse, which one of the victims, ten-year-old Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, wore. 

“These were the exact green Converse on her feet that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting,” said McConaughey bringing his wife and the rest of the room on the verge of tears.

“A lifetime is not going to heal those wounds. Again you know what? Every one of these parents wanted what they asked for, but every parent separately expressed in their own way to Camilla and me that they want their children’s dreams to live on,” said McConaughey.

McConaughey asked Americans to “rise above” partisanship and division and face that “we have life preservation problem on our hands.”

Carrying a message of bipartisanship, McConaughey’s made an emotional plea to legislators.

“This should not be a partisan issue. There is not a Democratic or Republican value in one single act of the shooters. Not but people in power have failed to act. So we’re asking you I’m asking you will you please ask yourselves? Can both sides rise above? Can both sides see beyond the political problem at hand and admit that we have a life preservation problem on our hands.”

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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