With just one artist remaining on the pared-down roster for the NRA’s “Grand Old Night of Freedom” concert in Houston this weekend, one of the event’s formerly scheduled headliners, Lee Greenwood, appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends on Friday morning (May 27) to explain his decision to drop off the bill of Saturday’s (May 28) event.
“Well, you know, it’s pretty obvious to me that to play the… and I have to say that the NRA of course cancelled its convention in 2020 and ’21 and moved it to Memorial Day on ’22… so we’re all contracted, a lot of us artist,” Greenwood said of the show that had already lost Larry Gatlin, Don McLean, Larry Stewart, SiriusXM Y2Kounty host Danielle Peck and T. Graham Brown in the wake of Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas in which a gunman wearing body armor and wielding a military-grade AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slaughtered 19 fourth-grade children and two teachers.
“And the unfortunate shooting in Texas took place at a very bad time,” Greenwood explained. “And for me to go and play at the NRA just days after the shooting would be an endorsement… and people would then deem that as a… as a I like this weapon and I obviously… that weapon killed kids and I just couldn’t – I couldn’t go.”
Greenwood went on to chat with the hosts about the meaning of Memorial Day, his upcoming 40th anniversary tour and his partnership with a fireworks manufacturer before performing his hit “God Bless the USA.”
At press time, only country singer Jacob Bryant was left on the bill of the show that Billboard reported on Thursday would likely be canceled as the nation grieves over the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead, which marked the 27th school shooting of 2022.
In an earlier statement, Greenwood said, “As a father, I join the rest of America in being absolutely heartbroken by the horrific event that transpired this week in Texas. I was scheduled to perform at NRA’s private event on Saturday with my band. After thoughtful consideration, we have decided to cancel the appearance out of respect for those mourning the loss of those innocent children and teachers in Uvalde.”
Greenwood, Brown and Peck’s statements were similar to those issued earlier this week by McLean, Stewart and Gatlin who all cited the Uvalde school shooting as their reason for dropping off the event, whose tagline is “Celebrate a Grand Ole Night of Freedom, Firearms and the 2nd Amendment.” At press time, the annual meeting of the gun lobbying organization that has donated tens of millions to politicians to bolster Second Amendment legislation had kicked off with a seriously diminished schedule, as some prominent conservative politicians had also reportedly retreated.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CNN on Friday morning that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott would not be appearing live — but would address the gathering in a pre-recorded video — while he said that the state’s Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the speaker of the Texas house had also canceled appearances at the event at the George R. Brown Convention Center; no personal firearms are allowed during the session featuring former president Donald Trump due to Secret Serve security protocols.
The gathering was still slated to host Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as Trump, Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, and North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. The Houston Chronicle reported that a growing group of protesters had begun gathering outside the convention center as attendees were entering the first day of the planned three-day assembly taking place less than 300 miles from Uvalde.