CNN's Chris Cuomo had searing words for Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) just a day after Gaetz made a call for the construction of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall during a hearing on gun control.
“A wall has got no business in the discussion at a hearing about what to do about these mass shootings and crimes that maybe ― maybe ― can be prevented,” Cuomo said.
“It looked like grandstanding because it has nothing to with the solution.”
"We're all on the same page here," Gaetz said before he continued to make the case for the wall, saying that it would stop violent immigrants from entering the country as well as reduce gun violence.
Cuomo's criticisms became more heated from there.
"You guys have never done a damn thing until it became a tool of opportunity for you to talk about immigration,” Cuomo countered.
“These mass shootings keep happening and you do nothing except go on TV and say, ‘We’re not a law away.’”
Cuomo then said that Gaetz and other Republican politicians are using crime committed by undocumented immigrants as an “article of convenience” to push for the president's wall.
“You think that we are that craven?” Gaetz asked.
“Yes,” Cuomo replied.
“That is so irresponsible,” Gaetz said.
When Cuomo said it was “irresponsible of the people doing it” as they’ve put a “premium on certain lives and not others," Gaetz suggested that Democrats want more school shootings so they can pass gun control legislation.
“That is what you say all the time,” Cuomo responded. “The right says that all the time.”
Gaetz has come under fire since his appearance on Cuomo's program.
We have to get to move people like Gaetz out of Congress. He is not there for the right reasons. CNN’s Chris Cuomo… https://t.co/kf4QSKH4Iq— Me (@Me) 1549609741.0
@Alyssa_Milano @mattgaetz Matt’s hysterical outburst on Cuomo suggests he’s really just in it for the political poi… https://t.co/jxZrRPkTZr— Brandon Wolf (@Brandon Wolf) 1549608747.0
@CuomoPrimeTime @ChrisCuomo @mattgaetz Mr Cuomo I saw him last night on your show and Rep Gaetz just missed the poi… https://t.co/kS0KlAVTX6— John (@John) 1549630678.0
Despite Gaetz's claim, the majority of mass shootings are committed by white males.
"Between 1982 and November 2018, 60 out of 107 mass shootings were initiated by White shooters," according to one analysis by Statista. "The Las Vegas strip massacre in 2017 had the highest number of victims between 1982 and 2018, with 58 people killed, and over 500 injured."
Gaetz's behavior during the gun control hearing has been harshly criticized, particularly in light of his response to the father of a teenager killed during last year's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which galvanized gun control advocates around the country and birthed the #MarchForOurLives movement.
"You don't just get to show up in Washington and because a terrible thing has happened to you... you get to jump up and scream and yell," he said.
Gun control activist Emma Gonzalez, who survived the Parkland shooting, urged her millions of followers to donate to Gaetz's challenger in 2020.
He brought a holocaust denier to the State of the Union, he has just as hard of a time saying no to alcohol as he d… https://t.co/qT9OrLHy6T— Emma González (@Emma González) 1549599810.0
Donate to his opponent here :) https://t.co/mSqXM5x34N— Emma González (@Emma González) 1549599812.0
Shannon Watts, of Moms Demand Action, also condemned Gaetz's attempt to Manuel Oliver, the father of shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, ejected from the hearing.
During today’s House hearing on #HR8, Rep. Matt Gaetz said building “the wall” would be more effective than backgro… https://t.co/CAWTINhxwx— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1549476014.0
Gaetz's defense of the border wall came after President Trump during his State of the Union address stressed the need for a border wall and announced that he has ordered 3,750 troops to prepare for what he referred to as a “tremendous onslaught."
The president further claimed that “No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working-class and America’s political class than illegal immigration” and that “working-class Americans are left to pay the price for mass illegal immigration.”
In fact, the number of arrests by the Border Patrol is the lowest since the early 1970s, even as the number of agents has more than doubled.
Border Patrol made over 1.6 million arrests in 2000. At the time, there were just 9,600 agents nationwide. As the government has devoted more time and resources to staffing, surveillance technology, and fencing, that number has dropped steeply. 19,000 Border Patrol agents made 310,000 arrests during the last fiscal year.