After a brief dialogue on Twitter last week, the pair agreed to meet in person, with Milano hoping to bring gun legislation to the top of Cruz's Senate priorities. The entire, hour-long conversation was streamed on Facebook Live, letting folks on both ends of the political spectrum tune in.
"This is a divided time. This is an angry time," Cruz said during the conversation. "I think it is beneficial for us to have a human conversation."
For Milano, meeting with Cruz meant seeing him as an actual person and not the "caricature of a villain" that he comes off as.
"That is why this meeting was so important to me — I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat," Milano told Cruz.
Milano singled out Cruz during the Twitter-storm responding to the mass shooting in Odessa on August 31 in which seven people were killed and another 22 injured. It was Texas' second mass shooting in August, following the El Paso attack when 22 Texans and Mexican citizens lost their lives.
Following the online exchange, Cruz and Milano met Tuesday, joined by Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was a victim of the Parkland shooting in 2018.
An excellent Q, worth considering carefully w/o the snark of Twitter. It is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-give but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right to life is the right to DEFEND your life & your family. 1/x https://t.co/8pjstMGrGB— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 1, 2019
"I'm asking you — begging you — to have the courage to lead," Milano told Cruz during their discussion. The actress asked Cruz to push for gun control measures to make it to the Senate floor, even if he's not willing to support legislation completely.
Instead, Cruz said he wanted to "focus on policies that would really stop these crimes." To the lawmaker, that includes improving prosecution of gun cases and making federal background-check databases are more accurate. He, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, proposed such legislation in 2013.
I’d love to come in and meet with you on the gun issue and many other issues that include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, @tedcruz and also, 1 Peter 4:8.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) September 2, 2019
I’ll be in DC next week. We can live-stream the meeting so the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand. https://t.co/S3ljfjjOtG
But Milano and Guttenberg didn't let up, asking Cruz why he couldn't support an expanded background check system in which private purchases would be monitored.
While neither side budged on their stance, both parties agreed to aim for bipartisanship. Milano even suggested that Cruz give "the Democrats as much hell about working together" before giving him a hug on-camera.
Time will tell if Milano's pleas stick with Cruz.
I just left. He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful, discussion. Link to entire meeting below. #NoRA https://t.co/tAAzPXt5hW— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) September 10, 2019
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Too many Americans are dying. There is a gun violence epidemic in America that 90% of us want fixed. Republicans and Democrats alike. I hope @sentedcruz will seize this moment and urge his party’s leadership to advance the life-saving gun violence prevention bills pending in the Senate to a full debate and vote. We can’t solve gun violence by talking only with people who agree with us. I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak to Senator Cruz, and I hope our discussion inspires Americans across the political spectrum to reach across the partisan divides in our nation. 🖤