Kavanaugh: I would have shaken Parkland father's hand if I knew who he was

Kavanaugh: I would have shaken Parkland father's hand if I knew who he was
© Greg Nash

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh told senators that he would have shaken the hand of a father whose daughter died in the Parkland, Fla., shooting if he had known who he was.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed during February's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, approached Kavanaugh during a break at his confirmation hearing last week. Kavanaugh, Guttenberg said, refused to shake his hand when he tried to introduce himself at the hearing.

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But Kavanaugh told senators — as part of more than 250 pages of written responses to follow up questions from lawmakers — that he didn't recognize Guttenberg. 

"I unfortunately did not realize that the man was the father of a shooting victim from Parkland, Florida," Kavanaugh said in the written statement.

"Mr. Guttenberg has suffered an incalculable loss. If I had known who he was, I would have shaken his hand, talked to him, and expressed my sympathy. And I would have listened to him," Kavanaugh continued.

A photo of Guttenberg offering to shake Kavanaugh's hand, and Kavanaugh ignoring him, quickly went viral on social media. Guttenberg says he was removed from the hearing room shortly thereafter.

Kavanaugh added in the response to senators that it had been a "chaotic" day in the Judiciary Committee hearing room and he assumed Guttenberg was a protestor.

"As the break began, the room remained noisy and crowded. When I turned and did not recognize the man, I assumed he was a protestor. In a split second, my security detail intervened and ushered me out of the hearing room," Kavanaugh added.

But Guttenberg told CNN after the incident that he was "certain" Kavanaugh asked security to remove him from the confirmation hearing.

“As soon as I said [my daughter was] ‘murdered in Parkland,’ he just did an immediate turn and went away,” Guttenberg told CNN. “All he had to do was extend his hand back and say, I’m sorry for your loss, tell me about your daughter.’”