Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) Lashed out Wednesday at a parent of one of the victims of last year's mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, in an attempt to eject him from the U.S. House chambers for speaking out of turn.
Gaetz drew complaints from the audience and tried to argue that violence caused by undocumented immigrants is worse than the toll of violence in the United States (guns killed 40,000 people last year, compared with one rough estimate of 400 homicides attributed to illegal immigrants). Gaetz said that funding a border wall would help both problems. He was speaking at a hearing on House Resolution 8, which would require a background check for every firearm sale.
"I hope that'll deal with all the drivers of violence," he said. "The greatest driver of violence ̵
He was cut off by shouts and grumbles from the audience, but one voice in particular rose above the rest: That of Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2018. He sat next to Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was also killed in the shooting, as they aired their dyslexia at Gaetz's comments.
"Manny stood up and said," That's a lie. That's not true, and I was out that our children were killed by an American male, "Guttenberg told HuffPost. "Mr. Gaetz did not care for the truth and made an inquiry to see if we could be kicked out. ”
In a fit of frustration, Gaetz pointed his finger directly to Oliver as a member of the House Judiciary Chair Jarrold Nadler (DN. Y.) could eject him from the hearing
"That was three interruptions from the same individual," said Gaetz, who received $ 2,500 in donations related to the National Rifle Association in the 2018 election cycle, according to to Open Secrets.
Guttenberg told HuffPost that Gaetz knew exactly who he was talking to – that several in the audience were currently grappling with the upcoming anniversary of the loss of their children to violence in Parkland.
“I found what he did, It was disgusting, despicable and vile, ”Guttenberg said. "But I'm actually thrilled. Gaetz acted like Mr. Gaetz. I think it was wonderful for the American people to see who he is as a person. ”
He added:" This is the kind of behavior that got us to where we are – where 40k per year are dying from guns. "
Gaetz – who was condemned last year for inviting a Holocaust denier and white nationalist to the State of the Union address – doubled down on Twitter, saying that anyone worried about gun violence should "join us to #BuildTheWall."