Parkland parent Manuel Oliver meets with White House about gun control

Manuel Oliver spoke to Local 10 News outside the White House as he protested in hopes of meeting with President Joe Biden. (WPLG)

WASHINGTON – After more than two weeks protesting outside the White House and trying to speak with President Joe Biden, Manuel Oliver met with White House senior officials on Thursday and has left Washington.

Oliver’s 17-year-old son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver was among the 17 victims killed in the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and he has been a vocal activist for gun control ever since.

“On Thursday, after standing in front of the White House for 15 days, I met with [Senior Advisor to the President] Cedric Richmond, [Domestic Policy Advisor] Susan Rice, and other administration officials working to tackle the public health crisis of gun violence,” Oliver said in a statement. “I expressed my frustration with the administration’s limited focus on this critical issue and communicated my expectation — and the expectations of survivors across the country — that the administration will step up its commitment in year two and outline a clear plan of action at next year’s State of the Union. Guns and the NRA have been winning the battle in favor [of] murder and pain. It’s time we truly declare war on gun violence and no longer wait around for the perfect political posturing climate.”

Oliver had said earlier that he went to Washington to hold Biden and his administration accountable.

“Based on our conversation, I believe that the White House understands the urgency of addressing this crisis and the need for the President to become more involved,” he added in his statement Friday morning. “As a result, I expect to hear him outline a clear plan early next year and I will continue to work to hold him accountable to all of the promises he made to me and my wife Patricia and survivors across the country. Together, we will beat the NRA and build a safer future for us all.”

Fred Guttenberg, who also lost a child in the Parkland school shooting, tweeted that he joined Oliver in Thursday’s meeting.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News.