One of the stranger moments in the presidential campaign occurred Tuesday evening in Kissimmee, Florida, when Hillary Clinton spoke sadly about the victims of the Orlando shooting while Seddique Mateen, the father of the killer, stood in the audience, cheering her on.
The Democratic rally was held just 20 miles from the pulse club in Orlando where Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old Afghan-American security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others two months ago in what President Barack Obama labeled a hate-attack. Clinton’s speech opened with a tribute to the victims of the tragedy, while Mateen sat just a few yards away in a red baseball hat.
WOW: Openly pro-Taliban father of Orlando Shooter, Seddique Mateen, was front and center at Hillary’s rally.https://t.co/xciidOoUyx
— Watch Clinton Cash (@JaredWyand) August 9, 2016
Mateen was first recognized by West Palm Beach TV (WPTV) reporter Tory Dunnan. Mateen refused to speak to the reporter at first, but soon after, he was spotted outside the venue holding a pro-Clinton sign and asking to talk to press.
“Clinton is good for the United States, versus Donald Trump,” Mateen told WPTV Channel 5 in broken English. “I was invited by the Democratic Party; I’m a member.”
When asked if he the party officials knew he was going to attend, Mateen responded, “It’s a Democratic party, so everyone can join,” adding, “Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I’ve been living here a long time.”
“The rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public,” a Clinton campaign official said. “This individual wasn’t invited as a guest, and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.”
Clinton campaign statement part I: “This rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public. This individual wasn’t invited as a guest
— Tory Dunnan (@ToryDunnanTV) August 9, 2016
In 2015, before his son’s killing spree, Mateen donated $250 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president said on an interview on Fox News, “If that were me, this would be a headline all over the world about Trump. But she did not, as I understand it, disavow this man. He’s got some pretty harsh views.”
Trump was referring to Seddique’s being vocally pro-Taliban and anti-LGBT.