Judge Brett Kavanaugh said Wednesday that he mistook Fred Guttenberg, who is the father of a student killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, for a protester during a break in his Supreme Court confirmation hearing last week.
Kavanaugh said that if he had known who Guttenberg was, he wouldn't have walked away.
Guttenberg extended his hand to Kavanaugh last Tuesday, introducing himself and saying, "My daughter was killed in Parkland." Kavanaugh quickly turned away and left the room with his security detail.
Photographs and video of the exchange went viral on social media, with some calling Kavanaugh insensitive.
Kavanaugh addressed the incident in a written answer to a question from Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Here's Kavanaugh's full answer:
As I was leaving the hearing room for a recess last Tuesday, a man behind me yelled my name, approached me from behind, and touched my arm. It had been a chaotic morning with a large number of protesters in the hearing room. 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.
In that split second, I unfortunately did not realized that the man was the father of a shooting victim from Parkland, Florida. 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.