PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The father of a Parkland school shooting victim was removed during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night after an outburst in the House chamber.
Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 people killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another constitutional right that is under siege all across our country,” Trump said in his speech. “So long as I am president, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
That prompted Guttenberg to yell out something about victims of gun violence.
Shortly thereafter, a Capitol police officer escorted him out of the room.
Guttenberg later took to Twitter to apologize for his outburst.
(2,2) 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.— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) February 5, 2020
“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 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.”
Many people on Twitter responded to Guttenberg’s apology, saying there was no need for him to say he was sorry for anything.
Max Schachter, who lost his son Alex in the Parkland shooting, told Local 10 News in a statement that he fulls supports Guttenberg.
“Fred and I will always have a special bond," he said. "We are unfortunately in that same club that no other parent wants to be part of. Both of our beautiful children were murdered in a horrible school shooting. No child should go to school and never come home again. I fully support Fred. He, I and all the other Parkland victims’ families are fighting to make this world a safer place.”
Trump seemed to ignore the disruption, but Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence appeared to notice. Pelosi could be seen waving her hand toward the gallery, while Pence glanced over at one point during the president’s speech.
“While it’s unfortunate that my emotions last night got the best of me, today there is a discussion of gun violence taking place in this country because of what happened. I am thankful for that," Guttenberg said in a statement. "The president spoke about the Second Amendment, which does not prevent gun safety measures, and refused to acknowledge the thousands of Americans who have been killed due to gun violence, including my daughter Jaime.
"It is a shame that the conversation was only sparked because of how I reacted last night, but I would like to thank everyone for their continued support in our efforts to make change.”