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.
I just left a meeting at the @WhiteHouse with @manueloliver00. We met with @AmbassadorRice, @Richmond46, @StefFeldman & @HannahBristol. We had a very engaged conversation about the status of gun violence efforts & how much more needs to be done. My friend Manny is going home. pic.twitter.com/v4gbe8UQ68— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) December 16, 2021
Day# 15 in front of the WH. Trying to meet with @POTUS and go over immediate solutions and a stronger response from his administration. This nation can’t continue to lose innocent lives due to gun violence and we all say ENOUGH! #MeetWithManny pic.twitter.com/lzk1IMnOPK— Manuel Oliver (@manueloliver00) December 16, 2021