Parkland politics at the SCOTUS hearing
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Excerpt: Brett Kavanaugh stood up for a lunch break, began to button up his jacket and turned around to find the outstretched hand of Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in the Parkland mass shooting on Valentine’s Day.
Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, declined to shake it.
“Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as the morning session ended,” Guttenberg tweeted. “Put out my hand to introduce myself as Jaime Guttenberg’s dad. He pulled his hand back, turned his back to me and walked away. I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence.”
The three-second exchange instantly went viral, as Democrats are trying to muster attacks on Kavanaugh even though they likely don’t have the votes to stop his eventual confirmation. The first leg of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday was frequently interrupted by protesters in the room, with encouragement from Democrats.
The White House said Guttenberg, a vocal advocate for increased gun-control measures who has traveled to Capitol Hill frequently over the last six months to push for changes in legislation, was “an unidentified individual” and that security intervened before Kavanaugh could shake his hand.
“As Judge Kavanaugh left for his lunch break, an unidentified individual approached him,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah tweeted. “Before the Judge was able to shake his hand, security had intervened.”
Video of the exchange shows Kavanaugh turning around to Guttenberg’s outstretched hand with no one in between them. After about three seconds, a security officer approaches Guttenberg from behind and gets between Guttenberg and Kavanaugh, as Kavanaugh begins to walk away.
Guttenberg tweeted he was there as a guest of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat who has authored a bill that would ban assault weapons. He called Shah’s interpretation of events “incorrect.”
Hot Take: First, in case you find it odd that Fred was invited by a California senator rather than say one from Florida, there’s a good explanation for that one. Neither Senator Nelson or Rubio are on the Senate’s Judiciary committee, so the invite would have to have come from another state. Otherwise, what we have here is a made for video political stunt at a SCOTUS hearing. Without an introduction or context after numerous protesters, including those allowed in by other Democrats from Code Pink – (the organization that calls American soldiers war criminals and has protested at fallen American soldier's vigils) had to be forcibly removed from the chamber by security due to abhorrent conduct, a random person comes over to address you. What are you going to be inclined to do?
But in today’s world of disinformation, and the greatest form of bias being omission, even the limited context I just provided is more than you’ll receive elsewhere when you see this story. Fred Guttenberg attempting to interject himself into this process and gain attention from it is unfortunate. Perhaps he’d be better served in addressing FBI leadership given that they’re the ones who failed his daughter and all Parkland victims rather than attempting to politicize a judge who’s never engaged in any activity that negatively impacted his family. Predictably he immediately booked interviews with CNN and MSNBC.