As he's done nearly every day since his daughter Jaime died in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, Fred Guttenberg spent this morning trying to push for gun control. Today he made his way to D.C. for Senate confirmation hearings on Brett Kavanaugh so he could ask Trump's first Supreme Court pick where he stands on anti-gun-violence measures.
But Guttenberg says that when he introduced himself as the father of a Parkland victim and tried to shake Kavanaugh's hand during a break in the hearings, the nominee turned and ignored him.
"Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. 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," Guttenberg tweeted around 1:30 p.m. "I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence."
An AP photographer was there to document the moment. The striking image, which some observers are already calling a defining moment in Kavanaugh's hearings, backs up Guttenberg's narrative:
Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg who was killed in the shooting in Parkland, Fla., left, tries to shake hands with @realDonaldTrump's Supreme Court nom., Brett Kavanaugh, right, during a lunch break. Kavanaugh did not shake his hand. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) @ap pic.twitter.com/smcCGuLT6X— Andrew Harnik (@andyharnik) September 4, 2018
CSPAN's cameras captured the moment as well:
Video of the Guttenberg-Kavanaugh exchange. (via CSPAN) pic.twitter.com/3qx05dwaD1— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 4, 2018
White House officials later suggested that security personnel "intervened" before Kavanaugh had a chance to decide whether to shake Guttenberg's hand, but the video seems to show several seconds before the guards step between the men.
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Kavanaugh's hearings haven't been going smoothly in general. Democrats have assailed Republicans for dumping 42,000 pages of documents from Kavanaugh's time in the George W. Bush White House at the last minute and slammed Trump for refusing to disclose another 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh's career.
Protesters also repeatedly interrupted the hearings, which Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy called a "sham."
“This is the most incomplete, most partisan, least transparent vetting for any Supreme Court nominee I have ever seen,” he said.
In light of Guttenberg's encounter, it bears mentioning the NRA has promised to spend upward of $1 million on ads supporting Kavanaugh's Supreme Court bid.