Parkland Father Removed From State of the Union Speech After Shouting at Trump
The father of a high school freshman killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was removed from the audience at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night after shouting out during the president’s speech.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting, was escorted calmly out of the balcony gallery of the U.S. House of Representatives chamber toward the end of Trump’s speech.
Guttenberg, a prominent gun safety activist, was invited to the speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He declined an interview Tuesday night, but apologized on Twitter early Wednesday morning.
“Tonight was a rough night,” he wrote. “I disrupted the State Of The Union and was detained because I let my emotions get the best of me. I simply want to be able to deal with the reality of gun violence and not have to listen to the lies about the 2A [second amendment] as happened tonight.
“That said, I should not have yelled out. I am thankful for the overwhelming support that I am receiving. However, I do owe my family and friends an apology. I have tried to conduct myself with dignity throughout this process and I will do better as I pursue gun safety.”
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami, confirmed that Guttenberg was the protester ejected from the chamber. Mucarsel-Powell said Guttenberg referenced the loss of his daughter before he was led out of the chamber by Capitol Police while Trump was talking about the Second Amendment.
As Trump finished a line saying, “So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Republicans began to cheer and Guttenberg began to yell. As the cheers quieted, Guttenberg could be briefly heard in the chamber.
He shouted “victims of gun violence like my daughter,” according to a Huffington Post reporter.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stared in his direction while Trump kept speaking. Vice President Mike Pence shot a glance towards the gallery and at one point Pelosi waved her hand.
Trump did not appear to react to the outburst. He moved on to a portion of his speech about America’s space program.
Some of the Democrats in the chamber applauded Guttenberg as he was escorted out.
Guttenberg has become a prominent activist on issues of gun safety in the wake of the Parkland shooting, which killed 17, including his daughter.
He is urging lawmakers to support “Jaime’s law,” a proposal to require background checks on the purchase of bullets. He has been supportive of Democratic candidates, and recently filmed a lengthy testimonial for former Vice President Joe Biden.