Carpool Dad Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings started today. There’s a lot that’s happened, but we want to focus in on a moment right before they broke for lunch.
Fred Guttenberg, the Jewish dad who lost his daughter, Jaime, in the Parkland school shooting in February, attended the hearings. He was the guest of Jewish Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California), and after the morning session ended, he approached Kavanaugh to shake his hand.
Guttenberg tweeted, “Just walked up to Judge Kavanaugh as morning session ended. Put out my hand to introduce myself as Jaime Guttenberg’s dad. He pulled his hand back, turned his back to me and walked away. I guess he did not want to deal with the reality of gun violence.”
An AP Photographer captured the moment, which quickly went viral:
Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg who was killed in the shooting in Parkland, Fla., left, tries to shake hands with @realDonaldTrump‘s Supreme Court nom., Brett Kavanaugh, right, during a lunch break. Kavanaugh did not shake his hand. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) @ap pic.twitter.com/smcCGuLT6X
— Andrew Harnik (@andyharnik) September 4, 2018
Many were quick to call the image the “defining image” of the day, saying “a picture’s worth 100,000 documents.” One tweeter summed it up as “Father of slain daughter gets cold shoulder from Supreme Court nominee.” Another pointed out, “In a better world, this picture would sink his nomination.”
Look at this picture.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was slaughtered by a man who legally owned an AR-15, extends his hand to a man who could decide the fate of countless lives.
Fred introduces himself. Kavanaugh listens, nods, snubs the handshake, walks away without a word. pic.twitter.com/BsSP1zZuXP
— Matt Deitsch (@MattxRed) September 4, 2018
And there’s video too, showing that Kavanaugh did not respond — rather, he simply stares at him and turns away. (To give the nominee the benefit of the doubt, maybe he didn’t hear? Maybe it was a misunderstanding?) However — despite the efforts of White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah to say that the handshake was thwarted by security, the video seems to indicate that Kavanaugh did heard Guttenberg before walking away:
Thought it was possible he didn’t hear and thought Guttenberg was a disruptive protestor. This video makes it clear. He heard and he turned away. https://t.co/LGjnLqirI3
— Elizabeth Picciuto (@epicciuto) September 4, 2018
Within an hour of posting, Guttenberg’s original photo has been retweeted upwards of 20,000 times.
“I was a normal Parkland parent who had two kids. Now I have one,” Guttenberg — who has devoted himself to advocating for gun safety since his daughter’s murder — previously told Newsweek. “The only thing I have done is exercise my right to fight for my family’s safety. No cyberwarfare. No nothing. We’ve just effectively utilized Facebook and Twitter to drive a message. If I’m not mistaken, we have a presidential administration that did the same thing.”
Header image by AP Photo / Andrew Harnik