For the first time in almost 10 years, the House is holding a hearing on gun violence today in the Judiciary Committee. So naturally, the NRA’s favorite soulless demon Matt Gaetz is right at the center of it.
During the hearing, activists from gun violence prevention organizations interrupted Gaetz several times. Among them was Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin was murdered at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School last year. So the Florida congressman proceeded to whine to the committee chairman and try to get Oliver and others thrown out of the hearing room.
That’s a short clip and, taken without context, it looks like Gaetz is simply being a petulant stickler for the rules, which are technically on his side. That’s bad enough, considering that he’s pushing to enforce them against a father whose son was murdered by an act of gun violence. But the full context of the clip is even more obscene. You can see it about an hour and 45 minutes into this livestream:
Before he was interrupted, Gaetz used his time to embark on a truly deranged rant that began with him listing off names of people killed by undocumented immigrants and then pivoted to him literally yelling about the border wall. Gaetz was arguing against House Resolution 8, a bill introduced to introduce universal background checks for gun buyers.
“HR8 would not have stopped many of the circumstances I raised,” Gaetz said after the spiel about murders. “But a wall, a barrier on the southern border may have, and that’s what we’re fighting for.”
As Gaetz raised his voice at the end of that sentence, the activists in the galley started to raise their voices in response. Chairman Jerry Nadler banged his gavel for order and admonished the activists for speaking out of turn. “Mr. Chairman, may I have my time restored?” Gaetz whined before continuing into his screed, during which he was interrupted several more times, setting up the clip above.
Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline also waded right into the fray with an interjection of his own.
“Mr. Chariman, point of order, or point of parliamentary inquiry,” Cicilline said. “Is there any committee rule that prevents a member of Congress from reciting false statements in a committee hearing that are unsupported by the evidence, or are members of Congress entitled to just make things up in support of specious arguments?”
Nadler said he “was not aware of any such rule.”
It’s good to know what the House Judiciary Committee will and won’t allow, I guess!
Correction, 3:52 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to accurately reflect the name of the school where Manuel Oliver’s son was murdered. It was at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, not Parkland High School.