Rep. Matt Gaetz lies about gun violence, tries to eject Parkland parent

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 as he tried to argue that violence caused by undocumented immigrants is worse than the toll of gun 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 curb 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 we’ll deal with all the drivers of violence,” he said. “The greatest driver of violence — in the circumstances that I indicated — was not the firearm. It’s the fact that we have an immigration system that allows people to come here violently ...” 

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 displeasure at Gaetz’s comments.

“Manny stood up and said, ‘That’s a lie. That’s not true,’ and I yelled out that our children were killed by an American male,” Guttenberg told HuffPost. “Mr. Gaetz didn’t 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 at Oliver as he inquired whether House Judiciary Chair Jarrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) could eject him from the hearing.

Related: Parkland, Fla., keeps memory of shooting alive:

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Parkland, Fla. keeps memory of shooting alive
An empty chair is seen in front of flowers and mementoes placed on a fence to commemorate the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Daniela Menescal, who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, wears a t-shirt with the names of the victims of the shooting, as she plays the piano at her house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Daniela Menescal (R), who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, attends a baseball game her brother is playing in, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, cries next to his family after painting a mural to commemorate the victims of the shooting and promote gun control in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2018. Listening to his son's favourite music, Oliver painted the mural from beginning to end, but as soon as he finished, he broke down and had to walk inside the hotel to mourn. Later he went out again to give interviews to the media to call for more gun control. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, cries in his hotel room before painting a mural to commemorate the victims of the shooting and promote gun control in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2018. Minutes before leaving the hotel room to paint the mural, Oliver put on his son's headphones and played his favourite music. Almost immediately, he started to cry and he had to take them off. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A man looks at pictures of the victims of the mass shooting in Parkland on the program during the graduation ceremony for students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Manuel Oliver (R) and Patricia Padauy (2nd R), parents of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, look at the screen as they wait backstage to receive their son's diploma during his graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Patricia Padauy, the mother of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, holds up her son's diploma during his graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, attend their graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, walks past his son's classmates, during their graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attend their graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Daniela Menescal, who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, helps her brother practice baseball at their house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Autographed sports t-shirts, pictures and placards are seen among other mementoes at the room of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at his house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
The entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is seen after the police security perimeter was removed, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A member of the media pushes a cart full of equipment in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A garbage bag full of crime scene tape is seen close to the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, after the police security perimeter was removed, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Patricia Padauy, the mother of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, talks to a journalist during an interview before attending her son's high school graduation ceremony to receive his diploma, at home in Parkland, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Daniela Menescal, who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, looks for her belongings inside her clear backpack at her house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
The initials of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a placard are placed on the fence at Park Trails Elementary School, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, holds up a placard as he paints a mural to commemorate the victims of the shooting and promote gun control in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2018. As he paints the mural Oliver listens to his son's favourite music on the headphones that belonged to him. The mural depicts his son the day that he died, carrying flowers to his girlfriend for Valentine's day. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Carlos Rodriguez (2nd R), student and shooting survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, talks with his schoolmates and co-founders of Stories Untold, a movement created to encourage victims of gun violence to share their stories, during a meeting at his house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Pictures of Joaquin Oliver and Aaron Feis, victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, are seen on a cross placed in a park to commemorate the victims, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
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“I’d observe that 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 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 gun violence in Parkland.

“I found what he did, to treat what happened to our families that way, it’s disgusting, despicable and vile,” Guttenberg said. “But I’m actually thrilled Mr. 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.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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