Republican senator Ted Cruz has accused a British journalist of being a "propagandist" for asking about the alarming number of school shootings in the US.
Sky News reporter Mark Stone found himself one-on-one with Cruz at a vigil for the 21 victims of the Texas elementary school shooting on Thursday.
Stone said these tragedies "only happen in America", citing the nation's track record, including 27 shootings at schools resulting in injury and death in 2022 so far.
Cruz accused Stone of having a "political agenda" after being probed on his stance against stringent gun control in Texas.
"You know, I'm sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful. You've got your political agenda. God love you," Cruz said.
After repeatedly being asked 'you can't answer that' by the Sky News journalist, Cruz fired up, citing America's freedoms as part of what makes it the "most prosperous" nation on the planet.
"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," he said, adding he believed gun control measures would not stem the mass shootings.
"You know, it's easy to go to politics," he said.
"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.
"There are 19 sets of parents who are never going to get to kiss their child tonight."
Those comments reflected his interview with major broadcaster CNN earlier that day, in which he accused political opportunists of pouncing on the issue minutes after news broke of the Robb Elementary shooting.
"Inevitably when there's a murderer of this kind, you see politicians try to politicise it, 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.
In contrast, US President Joe Biden used his address to criticise gun manufacturers and lobbyists like the NRA for their opposition to "common sense gun laws" that are continually being pushed.
"I had hoped, when I became president, I would not have to do this. Again. Another massacre,' Biden said.
"Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful innocent, second, third, fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happen – see their friends die as if they're on a battlefield, for God's sake?'
"As a nation, we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?
"When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?"