After Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL) tried to get the father of a Parkland student who was murdered in the school shooting last year thrown out of a committee hearing on gun purchase background checks, the father, Manuel Oliver is now vowing to help get him voted out of office.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Gaetz attempted to argue that building President Trump’s wall would make America safer than putting universal background checks on gun purchases. Oliver interrupted the congressman’s monologue multiple times, shouting “Remember him!” referencing his 17-year-old son Joaquin Oliver who, was killed in the Valentines Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Oliver also yelled “Remember us!” referring to the 40,000 people killed each year due to gun violence.
Gaetz then tried to get Oliver thrown out of the hearing, which he attended alongside the father of another Parkland victim and multiple student survivors. During an interview on MSNBC Thursday morning, Oliver recounted the incident.
“He tried to get me out of the room and you don’t do that. You don’t get me out of any room,” he said. “I’ll get you of that room as soon as I have the chance to vote for someone else.”
(Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) is technically the representative for residents of Parkland, Florida and Deutch invited Oliver to attend the State of the Union with him. Gaetz represents Pensacola and the western part of the Florida panhandle.)
Oliver said Gaetz is nothing more than a “sales person” for the Republican Party and called his entire argument against undocumented immigrants at a gun background check hearing “offensive.”
“He’s selling a project that has no relationship at all with what the discussion was about,” he said. “This person came in here trying to solve the problem with the argument that we need a wall. We’re discussing about gun violence in this room and how are we going to end with this epidemic. … It was very offensive that the only side of the story that seems to bother them is these wall that seems to be the solution for all our problems.”
Parkland victim's father vows to vote Gaetz out of office after the lawmaker tried to get him removed from committee hearing on gun background checks pic.twitter.com/c3HSluIYD1
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 7, 2019
For his part, Gaetz said he wasn’t aware that Oliver was a father of a Parkland victim, but said he would’ve reacted to the interruptions the same way if he’d known.
“I don’t think anybody, regardless of tragic circumstances, can expect to come to a congressional hearing and take it over with a series of interruptions,” he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.