Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was angrily interrupted by Manuel Oliver, the father of Majory Stoneman Douglas shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence Wednesday after the lawmaker said that “a wall” on the southern border would be a more effective way to curb gun violence than mandatory background checks.
The interruption led Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) to interject, asking: “Is there any committee rule that prevents a member of congress for making false statements in a committee hearing?” His question drew loud applause from the audience.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was also murdered during the Parkland shooting—and seated next to Oliver at the hearing—appeared visibly agitated by Gaetz’s comments. While chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) attempted to restore order, Gaetz suggested both Oliver and Guttenberg be ejected from the hearing.
During today’s House hearing on #HR8, Rep. Matt Gaetz said building “the wall” would be more effective than background checks. He then got into an argument with @manueloliver00, whose son Joaquin was killed in Parkland, and tried to have him ejected. pic.twitter.com/8KjC8r9BWB
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) February 6, 2019
Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, was quick to condemn Gaetz on Twitter:
Manuel Oliver and Fred Guttenberg are heroes, and have lived through enough trauma without @RepMattGaetz being too immature to handle constituents voicing their disagreement with his positions https://t.co/AvO3f8QvBz
— Emma González (@Emma4Change) February 6, 2019
She was far from alone in her outrage:
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) February 6, 2019
In a tweet, Waleed Shahid of the advocacy group Justice Democrats, likened Gaetz’s comments to the lies told by other white supremacists in congressional history.
Matt Gaetz: "The greatest driver of violence…is not the firearm. It's that we have an immigration system that allows people to come here violently."
GOP lies are near the level white supremacists delivered in Congress against abolition & civil rights.pic.twitter.com/CPU5UhOaei
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) February 6, 2019