This Florida Republican Senate Candidate Accused a Grieving Father of 'Exploiting' His Daughter’s Shooting Death

These days, Republican allies of the National Rifle Association (NRA) aren’t always known for their tact or sensitivity when it comes to victims of mass shootings. And Republican Javier Manjarres, who publishes the right-wing website the Shark Tank and is hoping to unseat South Florida Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch in the November midterms, showed just how tactless he can be this week when he accused a grieving father of “exploiting” the killing of his 14-year-old daughter by calling for stricter gun control legislation

On Valentine’s Day, 14-year-old Jaime Guttenbergwas among the 17 people killed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in a mass shooting. And this week, Manjarres didn’t hesitate to lambast her father, Parkland resident Fred Guttenberg, for his pro-gun control stand.

On Twitter, Manjarres wrote, “C’mon Fred. I (can) only imagine the pain you are feeling over the loss of your daughter, but stop exploiting her death in the name of some political agenda. Your daughter was shot by some lunatic who had an AR-15, not by the gun itself. #Fixit #VoteJavi.”

Manjarres was responding to a tweet that Fred Guttenberg posted in response to a July 4 tweet by NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, who called for Budweiser beer, rifles and fireworks on Independence Day. Guttenberg, in his tweet, told Loesch, “I would show this to my kid, but she is dead. She was shot by an AR-15 on Valentine’s Day. I am sure you meant for your tweet to be cute, but it is just another example of your inability to say or do the right thing.”

In memory of his daughter, Fred Guttenberg has published the website, Orange Ribbons for Jaime, and been outspoken in his call for stricter gun control laws. Manjarres, a Trump supporter, has attacked not only Guttenberg but also, Deutch, on the gun control issue and echoed Trump’s rhetorical style by calling him “Terrified Ted.”

Florida has proven to be a major battleground state politically: while President Obama won Florida in the 2008 and 2012 elections, Trump carried the state in 2016. Deutch, who has represented parts of South Florida in the House of Representatives since 2010, is seeking re-election in one of the state’s more Democrat-leaning districts.

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