GOP congressional candidate tells Parkland father to stop 'exploiting' his daughter's death

GOP congressional candidate tells Parkland father to stop 'exploiting' his daughter's death
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A Republican running for Congress told the father of a Parkland, Fla., school shooting victim on Friday to stop "exploiting" his daughter’s death by calling for gun control legislation.

Javier Manjarres, who is running for office in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, took aim at Fred Guttenberg on Twitter, saying that his daughter, 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, was "shot by some lunatic who had an AR-15, not by the gun itself."

Jaime Guttenberg was one of 17 people killed inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the February mass shooting.


“C'mon Fred. I can't 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,” Manjarres tweeted at Fred Guttenberg. “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 from Guttenberg that slammed National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch for an Independence Day tweet calling for Budweiser beer, rifles and fireworks.

Guttenberg said he assumed Loesch’s tweet was supposed to be “cute” but called the tweet another example of the spokeswoman’s “inability to say or do the right thing.”

Guttenberg told Manjarres that gun safety is his priority following the shooting death of his daughter. 

“If you call honesty around gun safety exploitation, then you clearly have a political agenda,” he wrote.

“By the way, my daughhter [sic] had a name and it was Jaime. Next week she would have turned 15 but because some lunatic had access to this weapon, my daughter will be forever 14," Guttenberg added. 

Guttenberg said he would do anything in his power to prevent Manjarres from being elected.

"You have had your own issues with gun safety. I will do everything I possibly can to make sure you do not sniff the halls of Congress," he tweeted. “And please, do not mention my daughter again."

Guttenberg later linked to a March 2016 article from Florida's Sun Sentinel newspaper, which described how Manjarres — then just a South Florida–based conservative blogger — was arrested in connection with the attempted murder of his sister’s boyfriend. 

Manjarres allegedly left the man with a broken nose and bullet holes in his pickup truck, according to a police report.

The Palm Beach County Circuit Court assistant state attorney declined to prosecute the case a month later, the newspaper reported. 

Shortly after the Twitter exchange, Manjarres issued an apology on Twitter, but reiterated his claim that "many Americans" believe Guttenberg is "exploiting" his daughter's death.

"@fred_guttenberg I'm truly sorry if my statement sounded insensitive to you and scratched at your loss," he tweeted. "Again, we are all sorry for your loss, but you appear to be focusing on the gun, hence leaving many Americans to believe that you are exploiting it. That's all. Let's #Fixit"

Manjarres, a political consultant behind the Shark Tank blog, announced his bid to run against Parkland-area incumbent Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum Matt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid MORE (D) in April, according to the Miami Herald.

The Republican has also accused Deutch of attempting to capitalize on February's school shooting in Parkland, the newspaper reported.

“The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, is a reminder that shameful extremists like Deutch will go as far as to lie in their ongoing efforts of exploiting victims of the shooting for political expediency and gain,” Manjarres said in an April statement.

--Updated 4:05 p.m.