An awkward and humiliating scenario took place Monday at the White House during an event meant to celebrate the recent passage of bipartisan gun legislation, when the father of one of the victims of the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting loudly interrupted President Joe Biden’s remarks, as The Hill reports.
Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was killed in the infamous attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School appeared to take exception when Biden began to suggest that the nation was on the path to making significant progress when it comes to gun violence.
As the president started a sentence with “Because make no mistake…,” he paused what he was saying, in an attempt to hear what Oliver was shouting.
That was when Biden curtly responded, “Sit down, you’ll hear what I have to say, if you think…” to what sounded to some like Oliver contending that the aforementioned legislation was insufficiently stringent, and though he was heard to say, “I’ve been trying to tell you this for years,” the rest of the words he used were reportedly difficult to deduce.
Though Biden seemed to make an effort to engage briefly with Oliver, security personnel swiftly escorted the bereaved father out of the event, something that is an extreme rarity at a White House event, given the tough security measures and guest screening procedures involved, as Fox News notes.
While the manner of Oliver’s very public expression of frustration was not at all expected, the grieving dad did make his dissatisfaction with the current state of the law clear in a tweet posted in advance of the ceremony.
“The word CELEBRATION has no space in a society that saw 19 kids massacred just a month ago. Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years. Not me, not Joaquin,” Oliver wrote.
After the event on Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed Biden’s agreement with Oliver’s belief that more expansive action needs to be taken with regard to gun control.
“Our hearts go out to Manuel Oliver who has suffered a deep, deep loss. The president met with him earlier today before the event. And as you know, the president understands what loss feels like,” said Jean-Pierre, referencing – as the commander in chief himself frequently does – the fact that Biden’s first wife, daughter, and son Beau all predeceased him.